Exactly 27 years ago, Ayrton Senna won the Canadian Formula One GP a few moments before the Brazilian football squad made its debut in the 1990 World Cup against Sweden, in Italy. With that story in mind, the official Ayrton Senna website has compiled a few other interesting stories about the driver’s relationship with football.
1- Senna and the Brazilian squad win on the same day
The 1990 Canadian GP was the first F1 race that had Cléber Machado as its main commentator, on Brazilian TV. Galvão Bueno, who usually covered most races, was involved in the broadcast of the Brazilian football squad, which started right after Ayrton Senna’s celebration on the podium, in Montreal.
Before the race, Senna talked about the fact He was racing on the same day of the match. “I was never a football fanatic, but it’s impossible not to support the team. The World Cup moves the spirit of every single Brazilian. It’s just a shame that I probably won’t be able to watch our first game”, he said.
The squad scored a 2-1 victory against the Swedes, in Turin, and the race was capped off with a Brazilian one-two, with Nelson Piquet in second place.
2- He raises the Brazilian flag after the squad is taken aout of the 1986 World Cup
A strong connection between Ayrton Senna and football was forged four years before that, in 1986, when the driver won the Detroit GP and raised the Brazilian flag for the first time inside his cockpit. It was one of the highpoints of his career, and the gesture epitomized Senna’s pride in being Brazilian. Just like very football fan in the country, he was sad about the national squad’s loss to France in the World Cup, one day earlier.
As a Lotus-Renault driver, Senna made sure to display his national pride in front of the French members of his team, who teased him mercilessly after the Brazilian squad was taken out of the tournament in a penalty shoot-out, after a final score of 1-1 in the regular match.
3- Senna’s frustrated attempt at playing goalkeeper
Two years later, in 1988, Senna decided to take part in a soccer match in Bali, Indonesia, where He was celebrating his first F1 world title, won in Japan the week before. The driver tried being a goalkeeper and… Let’s just say it didn’t turn out that great! Take a look at a few newspaper articles, published at the time, about Senna’s right wrist sprain (only in portuguese).
4- Senna in the F1 Drivers Football Squad (Nazionali Piloti)
In 1992, already a three-time champion, Senna was selected for the F1 Drivers Football Squad (Nazionale Piloti) – a team that still plays in charity events all over Europe. The match took place in Pescara, Italy, and Ayrton scored one of the goals in a 4-4 tie with a squad made up of managers and coaches of local football teams.
5 – We’re four-time champions!
The fifth story about Ayrton Senna and football took place in 1994, when the driver and the Brazilian squad made a pact to bring two fourth titles to Brazil – in F1 and in football. After a tense penalty shoot-out against Italy in the World Cup, held in the USA, the “soccer” squad won its long-desired fourth world title, after a 24-year wait. During the celebration, one sign stood out among the players and staff. It said: “Senna… We’ve sped up together. We’re four-time champions!”
The historic achievement was recalled by Raí, who wore the squad’s number 10 jersey at the time, in an interview to Senna TV.