In the previous part 1 and 2 we saw how Ayrton Senna and Ferrari were interested in each other, sadly except a meeting between Enzo and Senna in may 1986, nothing really came to fruition. What happen in this part 3 is what was the closest to Ayrton Senna driving for the Scuderia Ferrari.
First things first, some much needed context... Winter 88-89, Ferrari is in a very complex and delicate situation. Enzo Ferrari, the "Commandatore" passed away on august the 15th 1988 and left his brand and his beloved Scuderia orphan. A raging succession war started inside Maranello that destabilized all the company and it's organisation. In addition, the results of Ferrari in F1 were trully deteriorating since 1979.
FIAT who owned Ferrari since 1969 wanted to sort things out as quickly as possible and put Cesare Fiorio in control. Fiorio, born in Turin in 1939 is the man of trust of FIAT. Before getting to Ferrari in 1989, he has won everything possible in rally with FIAT in the 60's and 70's and then with Lancia in the 70's and 80's both in rally and endurance racing. Sadly when Fiorio began to work for Ferrari, the legendary Scuderia was only the shadow of what it once was...
See for yourself : 1980 and 1986 were two of the worst season Ferrari ever competed and 82 saw the brutal death of fan's and Ferrari's favorite, the late Gilles Villeneuve. 82 also saw the ending career crash of the Ferrari french driver Didier Pironi in Germany. In 1985 Ferrari and Alboreto had a triumphant first half of the season with 2 wins and the italian driver leading Prost in the championship. But the second half of the season saw she Scuderia fall into oblivion and Alboreto lost all hope before the end of the year.
Fiorio recalls : "With six victories in the last four years (he is wrong here, as Ferrari scored only 5 : 2 in 1985, 2 in 1987 and 1 in 1988) we needed to start all over again from a white sheet. But with the support of the FIAT familly, I feared nothing". "The path to follow was simple... I had to recruit what was the best in every way in the sport. In one year we put the Scuderia back on track".
Before his death, Enzo Ferrari had signed the austrian Gerhard Berger (who won 3 times in 87/88) and the one and only Nigel Mansell (the english mustache holder had almost won the title in 86 and 87 with his Williams Honda). John Barnard, star designer of the McLaren Tag Porsche was already in with a revolutionary project for 1989. This is the situation in wich Fiorio started his work with Ferrari at the end of 1988.