Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver Esteban Guerrieri has revealed how the legendary Ayrton Senna helped to shape his career.
In an interview published by Honda Racing, Argentine Guerrieri spoke about his early memories of the three-time Formula One world champion and how a piece of advice helped him on the road to ultimately winning in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup.
“I’ve always been a fan of Senna,” said Guerrieri, one of the 2020 WTCR title contenders. “He’s an icon to many, many people, especially in South America, and he’s always been an inspiration to me.
“When I was five, I started driving go karts and when I was seven, I started racing them. I remember really enjoying watching racing and F1 in those years of the early 90s, and I didn’t really understand how Ayrton was winning so much but it fascinated me. Looking back now I didn’t understand what it was to be racing at that level, but I knew I liked it, and especially Ayrton.
“As a kid I think he was my hero because he was winning – you always look up to the fastest guy. But the more interested I got, the more I learned about his personality and this is something that became even more special about Senna to me, and that I really learned a lot from and always try to put into practice in my life.
“I heard Ayrton in an interview saying that to be a Formula One driver you need to speak English and to know about computers. At that time, I was going to school just from 8 o’clock to 12 o’clock, so short days. When I heard Ayrton speak about English, I was seven years old when I said to my Mum ‘I don’t want to go to this school any more, I want to go to a school where they teach me English. Look, Ayrton Senna said that to be a Formula One driver you need to learn English, so I need to change school.’
“She understood and made it happen and when I was eight I changed school. I started going to a school from 8 o’clock in the morning until 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Imagine that – at eight years old I chose to spend more time at school – that was how much belief I put into Ayrton and how much I trusted where my own racing path would take me, even then.
“During all the extra school hours I was learning English. Of course, that has been very useful, and that was one of the first things that I took on board from Ayrton; the first thing I remember hearing him say that I really absorbed.
“I remember when I was nine and I actually started to understand racing itself. I was sitting in front of the TV and watching the whole race to understand all the small details, but that was 1994 when he was killed. That was a big impact for me because I was just getting to really understand how important and good he was.
“After that, I really started to read and watch even more about Senna.
“He was really the first guy to give importance to the physical aspect of racing, so I also took on board that fitness was very important. Everything I was seeing or reading about him, I was trying to put into practice in my life, and this is why he became my inspiration. Still now I have the same approach, and if I see someone else doing a better job I try to understand why so that I can improve.”