Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt revealed that he had to turn away Ayrton Senna when he proposed to race for the 1994 season.
Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt revealed that he had initially rejected Ayrton’s Senna proposal to join the F1 team for the 1994 season.
At that time Senna drove McLaren when he approached Todt. Being rejected from Ferrari, he joined Williams and later lost his life in the 1994 season.
Ayrton Senna during his last warmup session at Imola in 1994 🙏🇧🇷💛 pic.twitter.com/VeTYRc6rI5
— Raceliefhebber (Wouter)🧡🏎🐈 (@raceliefhebber) October 27, 2020
“I offered him to switch to Ferrari in 1995, but he was pushing for 1994,” Todt told Planet F1. “We already had two drivers under contract, Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, so we couldn’t satisfy his request, and when Ayrton asked why, I explained the situation to him.”
Ayrton Senna did not give up
What Todt said suggests that Senna was very keen to join the Ferrari team. “He didn’t give up, telling me that in Formula 1 contracts don’t count, but I replied that for me a contract has to be respected. So we offered him a deal for 1995, but unfortunately, we know what happened.”
Moreover, Ferrari later found their star driver in Michael Schumacher who won seven world drivers’ championships. He joined the team in 1996 and became a legendary driver.
However, way before Schumacher had even joined Ferrari people had told Todt that it was a bad idea. But when he won their first title, he proved them all wrong.
Todt further added, “everyone told me not to go, that it was an impossible mission, but I think that’s what gave me the drive to try.”
“It wasn’t easy, I joined Ferrari on 1 July 1993 and we won our first Constructors’ World Championship in 1999. It was quite a while after I arrived, and the following season we won our first Drivers’ World Championship with Michael.
“And before those achievements, I thought many times: well, they were right, we’ll never make it.”