Today is the 50th anniversary of the birth of Ayrton Senna.
There are many dates to remember the great Brazilian by; key moments in his career or his very public death on 1 May 1994, but his birth should remain the key date in my view.
Senna wasn’t like other racing drivers. He had the same skills as the very best of them, but what defined him was his intellect and the spiritual dimension of his character; it was a passion, a calling above and beyond the simple desire to compete, which drove him on and raised him to a different level.
He was no saint; he drove others off the road and could be as ruthless as anyone, but he had principles and felt that his struggle was not merely against other drivers but against the politics and corrupting influences of F1.
People are not prepared to forgive Michael Schumacher for his various indiscretions on the track, like Jerez 1997 or Monaco 2006, but they forgive Senna for driving Alain Prost off the road in Suzuka 1990 because in some very human way it was a righting of wrongs, it leveled the score from the previous year.
But the reason why he is so celebrated today is his all consuming passion for driving on the limit and his extraordinary ability to analyse and articulate it.