A remarkable story by Ayrton Senna turns 30 years old this Thursday (09). The Brazilian driver placed a bet with Ron Dennis, McLaren’s team principal, that if he won the 1990 Italian Grand Prix, he would take that racing car home. At the end of that season, Ron paid the bet of a historic victory for the Brazilian at the home of Ferrari, which had Alain Prost as a driver, Senna’s great rival in the fight for that year’s title.
And an interesting and little-known chapter of this story is revealed today in a video published on the official social networks of Ayrton Senna: the model that was gifted to Senna not only won the Italian Grand Prix, but also guaranteed another three victories for the Brazilian in 1990: Canada, Germany and Belgium, making the chassis priceless.
“Yes, I didn’t know where the car was. And there were rumours, it’s this chassis, that chassis. But today we saw the actual number: it’s chassis 6. It’s like escavating for an antiquity. With Ron’s bet, that Ayrton would get the car, after Monza when he won the race, Ron promissed him the car. But they carried on campaigning the car for the rest of the season. At the end of the season, for what I’m led to believe, the information I have is that Honda provided a brand new engine to go into the car before the car was shipped to Ayrton”, said Paul Lanzante, a specialist in historic cars.
He and three other McLaren members came to the 2019 Brazilian GP with the goal of putting the 1988 car (McLaren MP4/4) to make an exhibition at Interlagos with Bruno Senna accelerating. On Monday after the race, they received an invitation from the Senna family to do an analysis of the McLaren MP4/5B model, which is located at the headquarters of the Ayrton Senna Institute, in São Paulo.
The behind the scenes results of this analysis were released in a Senna TV video today, the day that marks 30 years of this historic victory. The report also has testimonies from Bruno Senna, F1 driver and Ayrton’s nephew, and Jo Ramirez, McLaren coordinator at the time.
“Ayrton liked that chassis, it was chassis number 6. He had already won the Germany, Canadian and the Belgium Grand Prix, so he was already keen on keeping that car. And as it happened, he managed to keep it. He had a very clear vision of (what) he wanted to and where he wanted to arrive. He was a man with tremendous personality, charisma, with banks of energy and he commanded this incredible aura that almost distinguished from the rest”, said Ramirez.
Ayrton Senna’s niece and CEO of Senna Brands, Bianca Senna thanked for the information provided by the McLaren team to the family. “It is always incredible to see people’s reaction to seeing this McLaren up close. We knew the history of the car, the victory in Monza, the bet… but the revelations were even more impressive. It’s like everyone said: it really is a priceless piece for all of us, a work of art ”, says Bianca.