What if Ayrton Senna Survived?


Ayrton Senna
Ayrton Senna

I need to start out by saying that What If scenarios are just for a bit of fun to see how the landscape of the sport would've changed and if my aunt had a penis she'd be my uncle. But I recently was listing the Top 10 Greatest Drivers in Formula 1 and it got me thinking, Ayrton Senna made the list easily, but he wasn't number 1 on that list, but is that only because he tragically lost his life before he could achieve even more in the sport?


Let's look at the facts right now, Ayrton is a 3 time world champion, only racing for 10 years in Formula 1. He raced in a total of 161 F1 races and won 41 of them, with 80 podiums, 65 pole positions and 19 fastest laps. He tragically lost his life on the 1st of May 1994 when he crashed in Imola, at the San Marino Grand Prix. Senna was leading the race at the time of the incident and furthermore, Michael Schumacher went on to win the world championship that year and it would be his first of 7 in the sport.


So the question to be asked is what if Ayrton Senna survived that crash, what if he was able to miraculously walk away from the incident and return at the next race in Monaco?


The 1994 season results for the 2 races that Senna completed were a mixed bag, well no, they were shit, he retired in both races. But in both Interlagos and The Pacific Grand Prix, Senna was able to secure pole position in both races. He was blisteringly quick in that Williams and looking at how his teammate Damon Hill was racing Schumacher in Adelaide at the final race of the season for the championship, we can certainly say that Senna's car that season was quick enough to win the title. Hill also had a rough start to the season, yes he got a 2nd place in Brazil, but that was followed up by 2 retirements and a 6th place. It was clear that the new regulations (the removal of driver aids and electronic assistance, eg. Traction Control) was giving the drivers some grief, but it wasn't long before they were able to get on top of it and start yielding the results they were expected to get.


Because of this, we need to make the assumption that Senna is no different, in arguably the fastest car in the field, he would've tamed it and with the next race being Monaco, a track he dominated his whole career, so much so that he was dubbed the King of Monaco, it's safe to assume he may have taken the win there. Even if that was all, that was the only difference that was made, that means that Damon Hill wins the Drivers World Championship that season. With 12 races to go, Senna would've eaten into the early lead that Schumacher had, just like Damon Hill did and instead of a controversial ending in Adelaide, we would've seen either Damon Hill or Ayrton Senna crowned champion that season. I think Schumacher still wins in 1995, that Benetton was just, as the kids would say, built differently. Hill and David Coulthard in the Williams in 1995 couldn't get near Schumacher who won over Hill by 33 points, which was a lot back then with the old points system.


But Schumacher then retires like he did at the end of the 2012 season, only a pathetic 6 time World Champion, horrible, only 6, what a loser! This then means that Sir Lewis Hamilton in the 2020 season has claimed his 7th World Title in Turkey, in that amazing wet race and he would most likely retire at the end of that season. He doesn't want to keep racing if he's already beaten every record in the books, he wants to go off and make some music, eat some vegan food, play with Roscoe and think about the time he got to finger a pussycat doll. Max Verstappen then has the time of his life in 2021, no Hamilton challenging him, George Russell is in that seat a season earlier.


So the possibilities are endless with this, Senna could've won 3 more World titles if he survived, but even if he didn't win a single one, even if he just took away a couple of points from Schumacher, it would've changed everything for decades to come.

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