Ayrton Senna’s team-mate in British Formula 3 Martin Brundle recalled his personality on and off the track, describing him as a contradictory character because he was a completely different person off the track.
Senna delighted the Formula 1 world with his talent and dedication to success, but like many other champions he had a ‘dark side’ and did not hesitate to collide with teammates or other drivers to show off his muscles and psychologically shake them.
The most famous such moments were the clashes with Alain Prost in Japan in 1989 and 1990, and Brundle also recalled their clashes in British Formula 3, which Senna dominantly won in 1983 with 12 wins in 20 races, although he considered the ‘system against him ‘.
“He was a remarkable man,” Brundle told Senna for Sky Sports F1 who secured three wins in F3 with Senna as a teammate in 1983.
“I talked to him a lot in 1983 and he has a contradictory character in a lot of ways. He always drove with his heart, not so much with his head. I saw a lot of his behavior patterns in Formula 3 and Formula 1.”
“For example, he was always willing to risk an accident if he wanted to prove something. To beat you psychologically.”
‘Always ready to risk an accident’
Brundle collided with Senna several times in 1983, and Senna stopped being over-aggressive only when Brundle stopped leaving enough room for his late attacks.
At Oulton Park Senna tried to overtake Brunedle from the inside with extremely late braking, but as Brundle was already at the top of the bend there was a collision.
On the other hand, Senna was a completely different person outside the car and would always be the first to help other drivers.
“On the one hand, he was always willing to crash into your car if he thought he was right. Like he did with Alain Prost at Suzuka,” Brundle said.
“Sometimes he drives with so much anger that it takes over him.”
“On the other hand, he was the first to get out of the car to help you and see if you were okay.”
Senna hit Brundle at the 1993 Italian GP in McLaren because he braked too late after adjusting the brake balance and hit his Ligier, but after the accident he immediately came to him to check if he was OK.
“He was extremely worried that he might hurt me, but after seeing that I was fine his head switched to the championship because he was in a big fight with Prost. We stood by the guardrails and watched the others pass.”
‘He always felt the system was against him
“He always had a feeling the system was against him,” Brundle said.
“He thought the British motorsport system was against him in British Formula 3.”
The trend continued in Formula 1 where he felt the FIA, led by Jean-Marie Balestre, was against him.
“He always carried it with him.”
Regardless of his flaws, Brundle has always praised Senna for her incredible talent and dedication to what she does.
“He’s an icon,” he said.
“His reputation will last forever.”