Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

Why Vettel wanted to lead a Senna F1 tribute at Imola

Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has opened up on the reasons he wanted to lead an Ayrton Senna tribute at Imola this weekend.

Sebastian Vettel holds a speech at the Ayrton Senna memorial statue

Vettel will take Senna's 1993 McLaren MP48 for a lap of honour on Sunday at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, marking the 30th anniversary of the Brazilian's passing at the Italian circuit.

Keeping Senna's memory alive in the paddock, Vettel hosted a track run on Thursday with drivers from F1, F2 and F3 donning 'Forever' shirts the iconic yellow helmet design, in his honour.

Speaking before the lap, which included a moment of remembrance at the Senna memorial, Vettel was asked if F1 was being quick enough with its chase of further safety improvements.

"It's never fast enough," he conceded. "Speeds are high and therefore danger is still there and it is still dangerous.

"But I think that after that horrible weekend, the drivers really got together, stood up, and Michael [Schumacher] was pushing a lot for the GPDA to get together and push the FIA and Formula 1 to make the tracks safer.

"All the drivers that carried on and where to follow to this day, benefit from that weekend – as funny as it may sound. But it was an important step to push on safety standards and measures.

"There were more than 10 years prior to that weekend where Formula 1 hadn't lost a driver. I was in a similar situation in 2014 where death – obviously, you are aware of the danger of motorsport – but death wasn't really around. Then you have that accident and Jules Bianchi paying the price with his life.

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"It throws up a lot of questions and, obviously, if you look at what happened and what was implemented after that - it shouldn't take these events to do that, so yeah, the delivery is never fast enough.

"But I think it's good that after such dark moments, we get together and try to speed things up, even though you might think things are as safe as can be beforehand.

"I think, in the end, Ayrton stood for so many causes and had such a great spirit. Probably a lot of people were inspired by his time and his legacy and take inspiration still today in situations like that (Referencing the situation in Brazil) and pass it onto their kids and children and tell the story. That's why we're here. That's why I'm here.

"It's not at all about me. I'm just trying to retell the story and remember him and his colours, trying to inspire the other drivers – the current drivers – to remember that and be inspired by him."

He added: "Thanks to that horrible weekend, as strange as it sounds, people looked into the circuits to make the tracks safer, the runoffs bigger, changing the layout, changing the cars, talking about crash structures, increasing the strength of what the chassis can withstand.

"It was a very, very dark moment in time but obviously, I was one of the drivers first-hand that benefitted from the implications when it came on all the cars that followed."

Senna is widely regarded as one of the best drivers ever to have featured in F1, with a number of current drivers having been influenced by him in their formative years.

But for Vettel, the respect for Senna's off-track efforts is equally as great as for his on-track performances.

"Certainly, as a driver, I was most inspired by the success he had. By having the privilege to work with people who worked with him, taking inspiration from how he was and what made him so special in the car, trying to understand that.

"One thing is the numbers – how many wins, how many poles, how many races – but there is more to it, and I think there is more to the man than just the result and the success.

"And especially the off-track stuff. The character he was, and the significance that he had in Brazil and to the Brazilian people at the time is probably unparalleled in Brazil.

"But it is also very rare to have sports figure not only growing to so much popularity but taking that role on and trying to inspire the country and the people get in a better place.

"Looking at pushing for education, when it comes to children, and trying to fight poverty – I think there are a lot of things that you can take inspiration from and it's therefore even more tragic that his story stopped on that horrible weekend because I think there would have been so much more on the track but also off the track."

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Exclusive: What goes on inside Formula 1's race control room
Next article How Verstappen plans to fit Nurburgring 24 sim race into Imola F1 weekend

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global