“Sebastian Vettel Honors Ayrton Senna by Driving His Last McLaren at Imola”

May 1, 2024 marked the 30th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s fatal accident at the San Marino GP in Imola. Next weekend, Formula 1 will once again be stopping at the legendary Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel is using this anniversary to hold a memorial event in honor of the three-time Formula 1 world champion, who in the eyes of many fans and also in those of the four-time title holder is the greatest racing driver in the 74-year history of the premier class. The highlight of this event is a demo drive by Vettel in the McLaren MP4/8 on race Sunday after the drivers’ parade.

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Sebastian Vettel drives the last Senna-McLaren in Imola

In the car from the 1993 Formula 1 season, Senna celebrated his 41st and final Grand Prix victory. Vettel’s exit with the McLaren has been known for a few weeks. On Wednesday before the Emilia Romagna GP in Imola, Vettel added to the entire planned memorial program for the charismatic F1 legend.

On the Thursday before the Formula 1 weekend in Imola, the German, in collaboration with the Senna Foundation and Formula 1, will hold a memorial run around the 4.909-kilometer route at 6 p.m. All Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3 drivers are also invited.

Sebastian Vettel at the Goodwood Festival in the McLaren MP4/8 with a helmet tribute to Ayrton Senna.
Vettel was already behind the wheel of the McLaren MP4/8 at Goodwood in 2023, Photo: LAT Images

Shirts and balaclava in memory of Senna

At the Tamburello corner, where Senna suffered his tragic accident in 1994, participants will stop to observe a minute’s silence for the Brazilian. All participating drivers receive a padlock that they can attach to the fence at the memorial site. In memory of Senna, balaclavas and T-shirts with the words #ForeverSenna can be purchased in Sebastian Vettel’s official shop. Part of the proceeds from the sales of the shirts go to the Senna Foundation.

Even during his active time as a Formula 1 driver, Vettel was known for his extensive knowledge and interest in the history of the premier class. Although the 37-year-old is too young to have followed Senna’s career in his youth, he speaks highly of him.

“Through my father I learned what a great driver Ayrton Senna was. He was a big fan of Ayrton and gave me a “Senna” doll and a small Senna toy car,” said Vettel, explaining his personal connection to his idol.

Ayrton Senna is revered in Brazil, also because of his social commitment, Photo: Sutton
Ayrton Senna is revered in Brazil, also because of his social commitment, Photo: Sutton

“What I particularly appreciated about him later was that he was not only one of the best racing drivers of all time, but that he also showed compassion and support for the often difficult social problems and poverty in his home country of Brazil,” said Vettel has been campaigning for more equality for several years, highlighting Senna’s social successes.

There will soon be a series on Netflix about Ayrton Senna’s outstanding F1 career. You can find all the information here:

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