Column: Ayrton Senna's 54th birthday
21 March 2014 – If Ayrton Senna was still alive, he would have turned 54 today. The Brazilian driver lost his life in an accident almost 20 years ago but Formula 1, and the world in general, hasn't forgotten him.
54 years ago, nobody knew the legendary proportions your name would take on. And how could they? You were just one of the many babies that were born in São Paulo every day. It's a crazy city, that hasn't changed. Just as Interlagos hasn't changed. It's all a bit more modern, but two steps out of the main gate and you're in a different, much less fortunate place. It's still the same, no matter how much you wanted it to change.
You're still very much in people's minds, Ayrton. Frank Williams still has your logo on his cars. I don't think he's ever gotten over your accident. But you're being remembered in different ways. People still talk about you. Your brilliant race in Monaco '84 and how it was red flagged. And how angry you were. But also your amazing first lap at Donington. People still get nostalgic about that, you know. Also, your battle with Alain Prost. It's often talked about, when a top team puts two big names in the same car. The comparison never really works but they just love talking about you.
We miss you Ayrton. I wonder what you'd be doing if you had just gotten out of the car at Imola. Would there have been more World Championships? Would you have become a Team Principal, like Prost did? Would you have concentrated on your work for the Senna Foundation? Would you have left the sport, or carried on way past your forties, like Michael Schumacher did? He broke all the records, Ayrton. You knew him as a cocky young German but he went on to win seven titles. And now he's in a coma, after a skiing accident. We're all hoping that he'll wake up. I'm sure you would have visited him, no matter how your relationship would have been.
This should have been your 54th birthday but instead we're remembering your accident, almost 20 years ago. You're still part of Formula 1 and life in Brazil in general. If it's true that a person dies twice, once when his heart stops and a second time when he's forgotten, you'll live forever.