The Flip of a Coin

05 January 2023

Ayrton Senna, arguably the greatest F1 driver of them all, drove 161 Grand Prix, amassing an impressive 41 wins throughout his career. Ayrton drove for McLaren between 1988 and 1993, winning the F1 World Championships in 1988, 1990 and 1991.

Ayrton Senna da Silva was a Brazilian racing driver who joined Frenchman Alain Prost at McLaren-Honda in 1998.

McLaren has given a permanent home on their cars to a logo paying tribute to late Ayrton Senna after rivals Williams removed it at the start of the season.

The Brazilian won all three of his titles with McLaren before his death in a Williams car at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

The Williams cars had carried various versions of the Senna logo since 1995, but the team changed owners in 2020, and founder Frank Williams died on 28 November 2021.

The relationship with McLaren was very successful, but it almost didn’t happen.

When trying to negotiate Senna’s contract to join McLaren, Ron Dennis felt it was irresolvable as Ayrton wanted $500k more. 

So, they decided to toss a coin!

Dennis won the toss, and, as it was a three-year contract, it had effectively been a $1.5 million win. Dennis said, ‘I know over the years that people have seen this as total disrespect for money,’ he says ‘but it was the only way to break that logjam.’

Ayrton Senna is considered by media, commentators and fans to be one of the greatest F1 drivers in the history of the sport.

His life was cut short when he fatally crashed in Imola while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, driving for the Williams team in 1994. Still, his legend lives on, and he’ll forever be known for his astonishing speed, sharp wit and selfless personality.