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25 years after his death, Ayrton Senna is still alive in Brazil

Gentleman’s Journal heads to Sao Paulo on the anniversary of the Formula One champion’s death to discuss the driver’s legacy with his family

Ayrton Senna died the year I was born; at least, that’s what I’d been led to believe. Over the intervening years, I’ve read both short articles and entire books about a life abruptly cut short on the race track. I’ve listened to countless interviews with his contemporaries, exploring and unpicking the rivalries and alliances of his career. I’ve even seen the film; the efforts of an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker to tell Senna’s story — from his birth in 60s Sao Paulo to the accident that claimed his life at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

From all of this, I gleaned that Senna’s life was well-lived, fast-moving, big-hearted and — most regrettably — over.

But then I came to Brazil. And here, in hot Sao Paulo, Ayrton Senna is not gone. He may not be tearing around tracks anymore, strapping on his iconic yellow and green helmet or returning home with championship titles tucked into his race suit, but the driver’s presence is still palpable throughout the country.

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