A story full of drama and adventure that has millions of fans all over the world obsessing over each one of its countless details. We could be talking about Ayrton Senna’s career, but the description also fits the Star Wars franchise.
Created by George Lucas in 1977, the saga was a cinematic revolution in several aspects, giving birth to a legion of fans that even has its own day: May 4th (a pun with the famous phrase “may the Force be with you”).
In the spirit of the occasion, the official Ayrton Senna website has listed six reasons it would be fair to call the Brazilian driver a Jedi Master of the track.
1. May the Force be with you
In the Star Wars saga, the Force is an energy field generated by all living things in the galaxy. Some beings are more connected to the Force than others and, even when they don’t understand it, the Force flows through them.
Force-sensitive people are able to manipulate its energy – like the Jedi. And Ayrton Senna mastered the ability to control his machine under the most adverse conditions, like driving in the rain on street circuits, where he seemed to become one with the car, such was the Brazilian’s willingness to go beyond the limits in situations that other drivers found too challenging.
2. The relationship with a master
Just like the good Jedi in the Star Wars saga, Senna was always devoted to his first master: Lucio Pascual Gascon, aka Tchê, one of the most respected figures in Brazilian karting. So much so that Senna presented him with the laurels from his first F1 win ever, at the 1985 Portuguese GP.
Also like the Jedi, Senna became a mentor to several drivers, and one of them in particular isn’t shy about naming the people who had an influence on him: four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. After a win in Cingapura last year, the Briton stressed the importance of his mentor to the achievement.
“It was our first time driving here in the rain, so it was a big challenge. Senna popped into my mind. It’s almost like he talks to me, ‘just stay focused, keep it together’”, said Hamilton. In Star Wars, it’s common for the Jedi to communicate with their masters this way.
3. Sacred Temple
While the Jedi have sacred temples scattered all over the galaxy, Ayrton Senna had his own personal temples in several countries, but three of them left a special mark in his F1 career.
– Suzuka, in Japan where he secured his three world titles.
– Monaco, since he still holds the record for most wins in the circuit, with six triumphs.
– Interlagos, in São Paulo, where he won in front of his home crowd twice. His first victory, in 1991, was achieved after several grueling laps in which he was forced to drive with just one gear.
4. His relationship with Japan
According to the creator of the Star Wars Sagan, the Word Jedi comes from the Japanese “jidaigeki” – or stories about the samurai. And no other driver has embodied the values of the east more than Ayrton Senna, who won three titles in Japan, at Suzuka, and whose search for perfection earned him an unprecedented level of celebrity in Japan.
5. In another dimension
By mastering the Force, the Jedi are capable of incredible feats. Besides his amazing displays of talent and his F1 titles, Senna also had an unusual experience on the track.
During the 1988 Monaco GP, when he was almost 1s5 faster than Alain Prost in the qualifying session – a huge difference in Formula One – the Brazilian driver admitted he was very close to both his own limit as well as the car’s.
“On that day, I realized I wasn’t driving consciously anymore. It was like I was in another dimension. The circuit was like a tunnel, to me, and I just went straight ahead”, said Senna about his experience in the most challenging F1 track.
6. George Lucas, a big Ayrton Senna fan
To wrap up the list in style, we have an even more impressive reason for the comparison: the “father” of the Jedi is a big F1 fan, especially of Ayrton Senna’s.
So much so that the Star Wars creator is rumored to be the celebrity who stayed anonymously at the “Ayrton Senna” suite, opened by the Fairmont hotel in 2017 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the driver’s first win in Monaco.