Ayrton Senna would have joined Ferrari for the final years of his Formula One career, the team’s president Luca di Montezemolo has claimed.
On the day before the 20th anniversary of Senna’s death during the
1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Montezemolo told Ferrari’s website: “He
wanted to come to Ferrari and I wanted him in the team.”
Montezemolo said he met Senna four days before he was killed at
Imola. “When he was in Italy for the San Marino Grand Prix, we met at my
home in Bologna on Wednesday 27 April.”
“He told me he really appreciated the stand we had taken against the
excessive use of electronic aids for driving, which didn’t allow a
driver’s skill to shine through,” said Montezemolo.
Driver aids such as active suspension and traction control had been
banned at the end of 1993. However at the Pacific Grand Prix two weeks
before the Imola race Ferrari had been found to have a form of traction control on their cars.
Montezemolo said Senna, who had joined Williams from McLaren at the
beginning of 1994, was already thinking about his next career move: “We
spoke for a long time and he made it clear to me that he wanted to end
his career at Ferrari, having come close to joining us a few years
“We agreed to meet again soon, so as to look at how we could overcome
his contractual obligations at the time. We were both in agreement that
Ferrari would be the ideal place for him to further his career, which
to date had been brilliant, even unique.”
However Senna lost his life just four days later. “Unfortunately, fate robbed all of us of Ayrton and Roland Ratzenberger over one of the saddest weekends in Formula One history,” said Montezemolo.
“Of Senna, I remember his kindness and his simple almost shy nature,
which was in complete contrast to Senna the driver, a fighter always
aiming for the best.”
“I always appreciated Ayrton’s style of racing,” he added. “As with
all great champions, he had an incredible will to win and never tired of
seeking perfection, trying to improve all the time. He was
extraordinary in qualifying, but also a great battler in the races, when
he always fought tooth and nail.”