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Formula One CTO highlights how impressive Ayrton Senna really was


Pat Symonds highlights how intuitive Ayrton Senna was when it came to his car.

Pat Symonds is currently the Chief Technical Officer of Formula One but Back in 1984, and was working with Ayrton Senna at Toleman.

Having worked with the likes of Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, Symonds has worked with the best but even at that, he still recalls Senna as being particularly impressive.

“I was his race engineer and what struck me immediately was that this guy knows what he’s talking about,” said Symonds.

“You’ve got to remember it’s a very different kind of scenario back then. We didn’t have all the data acquisition and modelling back then.

“We didn’t know what was going on in the car.”


The lack of technological feedback meant that the driver’s job at the time was a lot trickier than it is now, with less excuses about the development of the car because of how involved they were in that process.

Beyond his exceptional driving ability, this was another area where Senna apparently thrived.

“We relied on the driver to make that interface between the engineer and the car.

“Some people were very good at it but Ayrton was absolutely exceptional at it.

“He seemed to know everything that was happening on the car and he had this mental capacity to drive down fast and still understand what was going on.”

Senna will forever go down as one of the greats and with his untimely death at Imola in 1994, people often question how much more he could have achieved but with praise like he’s received from Symonds, it becomes a bit clearer how great of a talent Senna truly was.

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