21 years after his death, the legacy of Ayrton Senna burns as brightly as ever

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As legacies in Formula 1 go, few can boast the same kind of effect or impact as that of Ayrton Senna.

Today marks the 21st anniversary of the Brazilian’s death at the San Marino Grand Prix, but his name and spirit continue to burn brighter than ever.

Just one day after the death of Roland Ratzenberger in qualifying at Imola, the F1 world was rocked as its biggest name suffered a fatal accident in the early stages of the race. It set the tone for seismic changes in safety standards for F1 and motorsport in general, with the results saving the lives of many a racing driver over the past two decades.

But Senna was so much more than just a racing driver. He was – and continues to be – a hero and an icon. The fact that three million people lined the streets of Sao Paulo for his state funeral in 1994 proves that his life and legacy had gone far beyond the confines of the F1 paddock and its wider community.

On Friday, thousands of tweets were sent out in memory of Senna, paying tribute to a driver that is regarded by many as the greatest of all time in F1. Furthermore, “Ayrton Senna” has remained towards the top of the worldwide trends for most of the day.

We may be 21 years down the line from that fateful day, but the legend of Senna burns as brightly as ever.