Motor Racing: Prost's touching tribute to Senna: Friends and colleagues bear a champion's body to his grave
Friday 06 May 1994
Alain Prost, who retired at the end of his title-winning 1993 season to be replaced in the Williams team by Senna, was joined at the funeral by two other former champions, Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi. Gerhard Berger, Derek Warwick, Thierry Boutsen, Michele Alboreto, and Senna's compatriots, Rubens Barrichello, Christian Fittipaldi and Roberto Moreno, also helped to carry Senna's body to the graveside.
As well as Senna's former racing rivals, the mourners included Frank Williams, the head of Senna's team, and the McLaren chief, Ron Dennis.
Prost, four times the world champion, said after the funeral that as a mark of respect for his former McLaren team-mate, he would 'never get into a Formula One car again'. The Frenchman, who had several bitter disputes with Senna and was often not on speaking terms with the Brazilian, added: 'He was the only opponent I truly respected.'
Senna, who died after crashing in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix, was buried with the honours of a head of state. For the second day running, Sao Paulo came to a near standstill as hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute. At the end of the funeral ceremony, Air Force planes used smoke to draw a huge heart in the sky with the letter S at the top. In Rio de Janeiro, the Sugar Loaf mountain cable car was stopped half-way to drop flower petals to the ground.
Senna's body lay in state at the Sao Paulo legislative assembly for 24 hours until the funeral yesterday morning. During that time, about 8,000 people an hour had filed past the coffin, which was covered by a Brazilian flag with one of Senna's crash helmets placed on top.
Brazilians said the event had only ever been matched by the state funerals for the former president, Getulio Vargas, who committed suicide while in office in 1954, and Tancredo Neves, who died in 1985, days before he was to take office as president.
'This is an unforgettable sight for all Brazilians,' a commentator said. 'This is Ayrton's Senna's last journey.' Another said: 'The man has died, the myth has begun.' Yesterday's funeral was broadcast live on all television stations in Sao Paulo.
The Williams team are likely to enter only one car, for Damon Hill, in the Monaco Grand Prix on 15 May but will make a final decision early next week after a testing session at Silverstone on Monday. A spokeswoman said yesterday the team had cancelled a test planned for this week. She said Monday's test would be a 'totally closed and private session with no one allowed in. We don't want either of the drivers on duty, Damon Hill and David Coulthard, to be subjected to unnecessary pressure.'
The Simtek team have already said they will run just one car in Monte Carlo as a mark of respect for Roland Ratzenberger, the Austrian who died 24 hours before Senna during qualifying for the grand prix at Imola.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Ronaldinho dream XI: John Terry, Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele are in as former Barcelona superstar names ideal side
Police want right of veto over 'high risk' Friday night fixtures in wake of new Premier League TV deal
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...