On 17th July 1994, Brazil’s football team dedicated their fourth World Cup win in honour of deceased F1 legend Ayrton Senna.
One of Brazil’s greatest sporting heroes is Ayrton Senna. The three-time World Champion was the motorsport equivalent of 3-time Football World Cup winner Pele. And the racing legend even inspired the team to clinch their fourth world cup.
Brazil has a rich footballing history. The South American nation has won five World Cups, most by any country. But during the 1980s and 1990s, the Selecao were suffering a slump in form.
The nation was chasing its 4th title since the 1970 win. Similar to Ayrton Senna who was chasing his 4th F1 Championship title in 1994. But Senna told the Selecao ahead of a friendly in Paris, “This is our year.”
This motivation from a Brazilian legend inspired the team. But sadly on May 1, following an accident at the San Marino GP Senna was killed. He died due to the force of impact with the barrier.
— F1 in the 1990s 🚦🏎🏁🏆🍾 (@1990sF1) July 17, 2022
But the Brazilian team took inspiration from the racer and kept fighting. Blessed with talents like Bebeto, Romario, Dunga, Leonardo and a young Ronaldo, the team made it to the finals. They would meet in Italy.
On July 17, the Brazilian team defeated Italy on penalties to clinch their fourth title. The squad dedicated their win to Senna, who died three months ago. The whole world watched as they unfurled a banner reading; “Senna we accelerate together. The fourth title is ours.”
Former player Raí said “I think there are many similarities with Ayrton’s universe. And that’s why that tribute fit so well within that context. It had a lot to do with his spirit, the way he faced the sport – and us as well, as world champions.”
Why is Ayrton Senna considered one of F1’s greatest
Ayrton Senna is considered one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport. The Brazilian driver won three World Championships and 41 Grand Prix and had amassed 65 pole positions. He won around one out of every four races he entered.
He shared a rivalry with former teammate Alain Prost. In the 1989 season, the duo were teammates at McLaren. They won 15 out of the 16 races that season.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) March 24, 2022
He was well known for his wet weather performances. Senna is regarded as an inspiration by many F1 drivers like Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and more.
His death sparked major conversations regarding driver safety in the sport. And even when the Brazilian team paraded post their World cup victory, the fans did not stop singing Senna’s chants on the streets.