This 1993 Ayrton Senna F1 Racing Helmet is Up for Auction
Over the years, hundreds of drivers have donned racing suits, slid behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, and gone racing on the world’s stage. But only a handful have achieved truly legendary status. Nevertheless, one name tends to float to the top of that shortlist–Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian racer claimed three driver’s championships in his relatively short career, and many competitors of the era point to him as the greatest driving talent of all time. In a rare occurrence, one of the Brazilian ace’s F1 helmets has come up for sale at RM Sotheby’s upcoming event in May, selling at no reserve. The exact history behind the 1993 helmet has yet to be revealed, but it undoubtedly comes from a pivotal chapter in the life of Ayrton Senna. RELATED: Take a Closer Look at Ayrton Senna's Final Go-Kart
Between 1988 and 1991, Ayrton Senna wasn't so much a racing driver as he was an artist. His paintbrush, a set of Goodyears. His brutal on-track presence and outright speed helped him achieve near mythical status, even amidst the icons of the day. Senna sped to the 1988 driver’s championship at the wheel of a McLaren MP4-4, teammate and rival Alain Prost took ’89, followed by two more Senna titles in 1990 and ’91.
1992 marked a tough spell, however. Insider accounts say Senna’s McLaren just couldn't match the space-age Williams FW14, which wielded active suspension. Nevertheless he took three wins on the season, finishing fourth behind champion Nigel Mansell. 1993 yielded a better result for the Brazilian. Prost drove his Williams to the title, while Senna finished runner up with five wins on the season, having executed some of his greatest drives of all time that year.
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His jump to Williams was made possible in 1994, however it would be his final season. Many of the technologies that made the previous Williams F1 cars so dominant had been banned for '94, and Senna was quite uncomfortable with the car, despite netting the first three pole positions of the year. Senna's storied racing career would end at the year’s third event, the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, when the 34-year-old suffered a fatal crash at the Tamburello corner.
Two decades later, Ayrton Senna is still remembered for his incredible racing legacy and the institute that shares his name continues to provide charitable work to the children of Brazil, as he had originally envisioned.
This helmet, a piece of that history, will find a new custodian on May 14 in Monaco; a place well familiar with the man’s driving talents.
Photo Credit: Romulo Fialdini/RM Sotheby's
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