Friday, 7 October 2011

I noticed recently an advert drawing attention to the release of a new documentary film about the Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna who died in 1994 aged 34. I recognise the name even though I am not an avid Formula One fan, but intrigued, I checked him out on the net. Amongst the information about his racing achievments I discovered that Senna was a devout Christian. Here is part of the article:

"Senna was a devout Catholic, once saying "Just because I believe in God, just because I have faith in God, it doesn't mean that I'm immune. It doesn't mean that I'm immortal" (1989). He often read the Bible on long flights from São Paulo to Europe. In Senna, a documentary on his life released in 2010, Ayrton's sister, Vivianne, reveals that following, first the horrific accident of his protégé, Rubens Barrichello followed the next day by the tragic death of racer Roland Ratzenberger during that fateful San Marino Grand Prix of 1994, Senna had sought strength from the Bible. "Faced with a night of turmoil, of conflict, no one knew what his decision would be on Sunday morning, on race day ...'On that final morning, he woke and opened his bible and read a text,' explained Viviane 'that he would receive the greatest gift of all which was God, himself.'"

As his profile rose, Senna expressed concern over the widespread poverty in Brazil. After his death it was discovered that he had quietly donated an extremely large portion of his personal fortune (estimated at around $400 million) to aid poor children. Shortly before his death, he created the framework for an organisation dedicated to Brazilian children, which later became Instituto Ayrton Senna."

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