Three-time Formula 1 world champion, Ayrton Senna has always had a lot of admiration in France, the birthplace of Alain Prost, the Brazilian’s biggest rival in the category. In 2019, a Frenchman who is a fan of Ayrton broke a hoodoo in the Indy-500: Simon Pagenaud won the race with Penske and was the first French driver to win in the legendary race after 99 years.
And the most curious thing is that he did it all with the #NoPulsoDoBrasil campaign bracelet, which was delivered to Pagenaud before the race, propelling the Frenchman to victory with the colors of Senna’s iconic helmet on his wrist.
“In 2019, just before the Indy-500, I met with the PR representative from the Ayrton Senna Foundation and he gave me this bracelet, which means the world to me. I raced with it and I do believe Ayrton was with me during the whole race, and carried me to the most important win of my career”, says Pagenaud, who also honored Ayrton Senna in 2014’s Indy-500 with a helmet in tribute to the Brazilian driver.
Furthermore, the French driver showed all his admiration for Senna in a speech after the race in 2019. “When I was 4 years old, Ayrton sparked my love of racing. He was racing against Alain Prost, it was 1988, I was 4 years old and that’s when he won his first championship. He started my desire to get into racing and everything that he said talked to me so well, and I could feel everything he said made sense to me. Then I started racing in go-karts at 8 years old”, recalled Pagenaud.
“I always dreamed of being like Ayrton, obviously he is my hero, so you always want to be like your hero. I listened and watched his races, in Donington, when he won in Donington in the rain”, said Pagenaud.
The winner of the Indy-500 will compete again in the race this year, on the 23rd of August. “I tried to emulate his driving style to understand what he was doing different to be so good. Maybe he was helping me in the last Grand Prix (in the rain in Indianapolis)”, says Pagenaud in 2019.
The bracelet, which is still on sale at Ayrton Senna Shop (only in Brazil), was launched in 2016 and was also delivered to the Brazilian delegation at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. As a form of inspiration, the campaign was based on an animated film with a message from Senna to the athletes.