Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt reveals why he rejected move for Ayrton Senna

Todt says he did offer Senna a deal for the 1995 season

Sarah Rendell
Tuesday 30 November 2021 10:05
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<p>Jean Todt rejected a move to Ferrari for Senna </p>

Jean Todt rejected a move to Ferrari for Senna

Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt says he initially rejected Ayrton Senna from joining his Formula 1 team.

Todt was approached by Senna, who drove for McLaren at the time, ahead of the 1994 season in pursuit of racing for the team but, as they already had drivers contracted, the boss had to turn him away. Senna drove for Williams in the 1994 season.

“I offered him to switch to Ferrari in 1995, but he was pushing for 1994,” Todt told Planet F1. “We already had two drivers under contract, Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, so we couldn’t satisfy his request, and when Ayrton asked why, I explained the situation to him.

“He didn’t give up, telling me that in Formula 1 contracts don’t count, but I replied that for me a contract has to be respected. So we offered him a deal for 1995, but unfortunately we know what happened.”

Ferrari’s signature driver became the legendary Michael Schumacher who won seven world titles with the team after joining in 1996.

Before joining the team himself in 1993 people had told Todt it was a bad idea. It was only when they won their first title in 1999 that he proved them wrong.

He added: “Everyone told me not to go, that it was an impossible mission, but I think that’s what gave me the drive to try.

“It wasn’t easy, I joined Ferrari on 1 July 1993 and we won our first Constructors’ World Championship in 1999, so it was quite a while after I arrived, and the following season we won our first Drivers’ World Championship with Michael.

“And before those achievements I thought many times: well, they were right, we’ll never make it.”

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