Ayrton Senna and Ferrari, two absolute legends of the sport. A dream that almost came true on multiple occasions. This is the story of what happened.
In 1984, Ayrton Senna jumped in the big circus of Formula 1 with the small english team Toleman after some test for Williams, McLaren and Brabham. It's with Toleman that Senna showed his talent to the world and bringed all the attention after some incredible results that year.
Alain Prost and Niki Lauda where the headliners of this championship with their powerfull McLaren Tag Porsche. Ferrari on the other hand was in a transitional year, winning only one race in the hand of Michele Alboreto at Zolder (Belgium GP).
On may the 12th 1984, Mercedes Benz held a race to promote the new Mercedes 190E on the new Nurburgring circuit. It was the inaugural race of the new layout of the circuit. Every possible F1 champions and big names where taking part in what was supposed to be a simple exhibition race. Only one man was there to show the world he was the best : Ayrton Senna. In rainy conditions, he won the race in front of Lauda and all the other. Senna was a happy man, on an equal car he defeated all the best F1 driver that day.
Lauda was the only one that day who took Senna seriously during the race, offering him some resistance.
One of his "opponent" was mesmerized by the Brazilian performance, the F1 world champion of 1964, the great John Surtees. "Big John" who won his champioship with Ferrari was still in touch with the Scuderia and promptly wrote a letter to Enzo Ferrari urging him to sign Senna in the team. Sadly it was to no avail.
Later that year, the Monaco GP was held on june the 3rd 1984 in dreadfull conditions and was almost won by the young Senna, who (after the race was stopped by Jacky Ickx) finally finished 2nd behind Prost. After the race Enzo said to the italian press that : "Senna is a promising young man who is very strong, and we all agree on that. But I have no reason to complain about Arnoux".
In fact, the Commandatore was just protecting his team and drivers. After all Alboreto had already won the Belgian GP earlier on the season and Arnoux had won several races in 83 with Ferrari. So, whathever you may think of Enzo's statement, Senna was just a rookie and the two Ferrari drivers were already confirmed GP's winners.
Keep in mind too that the italian press was keen on suggesting drivers changes and asking for their heads when the Scuderia had bad results. Ferrari wanted to keep the cohesion in his team.
These were the first connections between "il vecchio" and the "rising star" of F1 in 1984. END of part 1.