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Ayrton Senna Special: Part 15 - Ayrton at Toleman - Competitive in new car with two podiums

  • Published on 09 Apr 2019 12:00
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  • By: Fergal Walsh

Ayrton would only finish in three races during the season. The Canadian Grand Prix at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit saw him finished seventh. The following two Grands Prix were not as successful. During the Grand Prix of Dallas Ayrton started from sixth. He took fourth position at the start but spun on the first lap and had contact with the wall. Eventually he w,ould drop out with a broken drive shaft. Years later Pat Symonds gave an interview about his 'Senna moment'. 

Pat Symonds

"Dallas was, as the Americans called it, an 'old-fashioned' North American street circuit," he said. "The track was built between the concrete walls. It was a very treacherous track that was very bumpy. Monaco would be a billiard cloth compared to this track. After he had qualified very well he drove to a fourth place in the race. Ayrton eventually had to retire the car due to the damage he suffered when he hit the wall.

Symonds then explained what had happened: "He came back in the pits and he looked very indignant. He was in shock, he didn't believe he had hit the wall. His reaction was: 'I did not make a mistake, this wall must have been moved'. The concrete block Ayrton spoke about weighed twenty tons, so we were all quite sceptical about his comment. He was so confident that he convinced me to walk around the circuit after the race. He told me to look at the point where both concrete blocks would be connected.

"We walked towards it and indeed I came to the conclusion that the wall had been moved. Someone had hit the previous concrete block and the wall was moved by it. The two blocks were no longer connected and there was a crack between the two blocks. That was the moment I realized for myself that he really had an eye for perfection. Don't forget that this boy was only in his first Formula 1 season", Symonds explained. 

 

 

The Grand Prix of Great Britain 

Ayrton's second podium in Formula 1 came on a circuit where he had the necessary experience. Brands Hatch hosted the tenth round of the world championship in 1984. On Friday Rory Byrne had a conversation with both Ayrton and Johnny Cecotto about the adjustments to the car. Ayrton managed to get the car in the optimal 'window', he would drive the seventh time in qualifying. Teammate Cecotto was unhappy, he had a serious accident on Friday where he broke his legs. It was the end of the Venezuelan Formula 1 career. Ayrton later indicated that Johnny had a great career ahead of him and was a very suitable guy both on and off the track. 

At the start Ayrton lost one place and ended up in eighth place. He quickly caught up with three drivers and was fifth when the race was interrupted after Jonathan Palmer's crash. At the restart Ayrton fought Alboreto's Ferrari. Eventually he passed Elio de Angelis and was sixth - Ayrton had lost a few spots at the restart. Later on, he followed Elio de Angelis again and caught up with him in the 41st of 71 laps. This put Ayrton in fourth place. A fourth place became a third place when Nelson Piquet suddenly had no speed anymore in the Brabham. After keeping his car on the asphalt for the last part of the race, Ayrton scored third place on his second podium in his Formula 1 career. 

Afterwards he was asked how it felt to be on the podium on a 'normal' circuit: "It's really great. I'm very happy. My team made a very good car available to me and that's why I was on the podium again at Brands Hatch, which I had a subscription to in the smaller classes. 

 

Farewell with a podium in Portugal

Ayrton had already signed for Lotus and drove his last race for Toleman. Toleman would be sold in 1985 and continue under the name Benetton. Ayrton scored his third podium of the year.

During qualifying the Brazilian was impressive. In the weekend where the battle for the title between Prost and Lauda would be decided, Ayrton drove a third time. During the race Ayrton caught up with Michele Alboreto's Ferrari in the final lap and was able to finish his employment with the British team with a podium. At the end of the Grand Prix Ayrton received a gift from his team saying: "Toleman will never be the same again without Senna". 

The thirteen points Ayrton earned for the team in 1984 include the three 'half points' that were awarded in Monaco. Ayrton and Nigel Mansell (Lotus) finished in ninth place in the championship. Toleman finished with sixteen points in seventh place in the constructors' championship. This includes the three points Stefan Johansson scored in Italy. 

Ayrton Senna Special: Part 1 - Ayrton and karting - The early years
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 2 - Ayrton and karting - International

Ayrton Senna Special: Part 3 - Ayrton and karting - The tough trip in Buenos Aires
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 4 - Ayrton and karting - The last race
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 5 - Ayrton in Europe - Formula Ford 1600 and the battle with Rick Morris

Ayrton Senna Special: Part 6 - Ayrton in Europe - A glorious year in Formula Ford 200
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 7 - Ayrton in British Formula 3 - Senna in a class of his own
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 8 - Ayrton in British Formula 3 - First signs of pressure and dirt game 
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 9 - Ayrton in British Formula 3 - Shame at Oulton Park and another title
Ayrton Senna Special Exclusive Interview: Allen Berg: Ayrton drove against the British system
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 10 - Ayrton as a test driver - The first experience in a Formula 1 car
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 11 - Ayrton as a test driver - A selection of different teams
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 12 - Ayrton at Toleman - Why the choice for Toleman was the right one
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 13 - Ayrton at Toleman - Monaco Grand Prix - Stefan was faster
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 14 - Ayrton at Toleman - Monaco Grand Prix - Post-race

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Date
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Circuit
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Spain
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Spain
15 - Mar 17 2019
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29 - Mar 31 2019
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12 - Apr 14 2019
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Austria
12 - Jul 14 2019
United Kingdom
26 - Jul 28 2019
Germany
2 - Aug 4 2019
Hungary
30 - Sep 1 2019
Belgium
6 - Sep 8 2019
Italy
20 - Sep 22 2019
Singapore
27 - Sep 29 2019
Russian
11 - Oct 13 2019
Japan
25 - Oct 27 2019
Mexico
1 - Nov 3 2019
United States of America
15 - Nov 17 2019
Brazil
29 - Dec 1 2019
United Arab Emirates
-
United Arab Emirates
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Formula 1 Calendar - 2019

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
15 - Mar 17 2019
Australia Albert Park
29 - Mar 31 2019
12 - Apr 14 2019
26 - Apr 28 2019
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
10 - May 12 2019
23 - May 26 2019
Monaco Monte Carlo
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21 - Jun 23 2019
France Paul Ricard
28 - Jun 30 2019
Austria Red Bull Ring
12 - Jul 14 2019
United Kingdom Silverstone
26 - Jul 28 2019
Germany Hockenheimring
2 - Aug 4 2019
Hungary Hungaroring
30 - Sep 1 2019
6 - Sep 8 2019
Italy Monza
20 - Sep 22 2019
27 - Sep 29 2019
Russian Sochi Autodrom
11 - Oct 13 2019
25 - Oct 27 2019
1 - Nov 3 2019
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
15 - Nov 17 2019
Brazil Interlagos
29 - Dec 1 2019
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
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United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
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