Ayrton Senna da Silva, better known as Ayrton Senna, (March 21, 1960 – May 1, 1994), was a Brazilian Formula One driver. He won the world championship three times, in 1988, 1990 and 1991. He is regarded as one of the world’s greatest drivers of all time.
He died in a tragic accident at Imola, San Marino, in 1994, when his motor racing career was at peak.
Senna was born to a wealthy family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His family supported his aspiration to race. He started driving karts at an early age with the earliest recorded race being a fun go-kart race at the age of four. He won the South American Kart Championship at aged 17.
In the early 1980s, Senna moved to England to develop his motor racing career. One year later, he won the British Formula Ford 1600 championship. It was around this time he settled on his mothers’ maiden name of Senna – rather than his father’s name de Silva, which was much more common.
In 1982, he made higher progress by winning the European and British Formula Ford 2000. With an increasing reputation as a skillful driver, he received testing from various Formula One Teams, like Williams and McLaren, but due to intense competition, his first Formula One Team was Toleman, whom he drove for in 1984.
In spite of not having the best technical car, Senna managed to achieve his first Formula One points and impressed with his driving skill, particularly in the wet.
In 1982, Senna won two European championships, including the European and the British Formula Ford 2000. In 1984, after testing with McLaren, Williams, Toleman, and Brabham, he got a place within the Toleman team for the Formula One season.
In 1988, he joined Alain Prost at McLaren – Honda, one amongst the top Formula One teams. That season 28-year-old Senna was able to claim his first world championship. He continued to repeat this ultimate prize. Senna won the world championships in 1990 and 1991, amidst a great rivalry with Alain Prost.