Ayrton Senna’s Legend, Then and Now

MS_Formula1A recent article from the New York Times deals with Ayrton Senna´s  legacy and his big and enduring influence in Brazilian society. The article also features latest results and figures from a Repucom studies on the current awareness and popularity of Senna and current Formula 1 drivers.

Twenty years ago last week, on May 1, 1994, Formula One’s biggest star at the time, the Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, was killed in a racing accident at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy.

Senna, a legend on and off the race course

There have been countless commemorations around the world in recent weeks marking the anniversary of Senna’s death at the age of 34. And as the elite racing series prepares for the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, the Senna persona and the values associated with him seem to be as enduring as ever.

Senna was not the most successful driver in the series, although he did win three world titles and a total of 41 races. Well before him there had been Juan Manuel Fangio, who won five world titles in the 1950s. Then there was Alain Prost, Senna’s great rival, who won four titles and 10 more victories overall than the Brazilian. Then came the reign of Michael Schumacher, who captured seven titles, 91 victories and 68 pole positions, to Senna’s 65.

But Senna’s personality and character transcended his results. Three million Brazilians filled the streets of São Paulo to mourn him at his funeral, and the Brazilian government declared three days of public mourning.

Two decades later, the driver’s attraction has lived on. The Ayrton Senna Institute, a Brazilian nonprofit organization founded after his death to promote public education for children and youth, said that in 2012 Senna’s brand was worth $9.6 million in sublicense agreements.

More than 600,000 people mentioned Senna on social media in the first half of 2013

Two recent studies by a sports marketing research firm, Repucom — one focusing on Senna and the other addressing views of current drivers — offer evidence of Senna’s enduring appeal.

“Nearly 20 years after his death, Senna remains very alive in the minds of both fans and the general public,” the researchers noted in the Senna study, which was published in December. “In the first half of 2013, more than 600,000 people in key Latin America and European markets mentioned him on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. In fact, more people in the Americas and Europe mention Ayrton Senna than any other Formula One driver — including current stars Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa.”

Read the Full Article from The New York Times here: Ayrton Senna’s Legend, Then and Now