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Hagerty Employee

Celebrate Ayrton Senna’s first F1 victory with Team Lotus

In the early 1980s, despite his proven speed during testing, Ayrton Senna found it rather difficult to land in Formula 1, let alone in a competitive car. That was partly due to the title sponsors being very particular about the nationality of their drivers, but the struggle was also due to Senna’s relatively high demands as a rookie compared to a field of World Champions. As a compromise, he signed with Toleman for 1984 only to debut at his home race and score three podiums throughout the season for this moderately competitive British team, which became Benetton by 1986. Toleman suspended Senna before the 14th race of the season for signing a contract with Team Lotus for 1985 in secret, thus becoming Lotus' first driver after Colin Chapman’s death.


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