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Thread: Ayrton Senna at Ferrari: A deal that was stopped from the inside

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    Ayrton Senna at Ferrari: A deal that was stopped from the inside

    It’s been twenty years since Ayrton Senna passed away in the tragic San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. But as it comes up, maybe the story of his life could have been different if instead of Williams, he drove a Ferrari. That was close to happen, with a contract that never confirmed with Ferrari a few years earlier. Let’s look back with the latest facts that came up and learn about the contract that never was signed, which would probably have changed the whole F1 history
    In the early 2000s, I was told that a pre-contract, or more correctly a letter of intent, existed between Ayrton Senna and Cesare Fiorio, team manager of Ferrari from 1989 until the Monaco GP two years later, for the Brazilian to race for Ferrari in ’91 and ‘92. The legend had it that Fioro possessed the pre-contract and kept it in his safe. So this year, I decided to seek out the first-hand story of this agreement.

    “My priority when I went to Ferrari in 1989 was to have the best available driver”, remembers Mr. Fiorio, “And of course Senna was first on my shopping list, second was [Alain] Prost and of course [Nigel] Mansell whom I had in the team. My goal was to replace Gerhard Berger with Senna, so I started talks immediately. Senna pointed out that he had a contract for next year, so we could not do any deal. We decided to talk again soon. I managed to bring Prost to the team [for 1990] who created a very good lineup with Mansell.”

    “In 1990, I tried again to speak with Ayrton, who was interested in coming to Ferrari, so the initial approach was very easy, since we both wanted to collaborate. After the Brazilian GP of 1990, a race we won with Alain, I didn’t leave Sao Paolo on Sunday evening and I stayed for one more day. Senna sent a chauffeur to pick me up from my hotel and he drove me to his house. I remember staying there from 9 in the morning to 7 in the afternoon to talk about all the issues, because later I had a flight to catch. There were no managers, no lawyers, just me and him. We stopped the conversation for a quick lunch with members of his family and we went back on. At the end of the day we had solved the 80% of the issues, and practically the 80% of the deal was done. We said goodbye with the aim to speak again in the near future.”

    “The near future was the Thursday before the French GP that took place at Le Castellet, at the start of July. We used to travel with a private plane to the track, so the plane made a stop to Nice and I went out. The rest continued. I went to see Ayrton at his home in Monaco. We continued the talks to finish the rest 20% that was remaining and some other small issues, like the fact that he had a Nacional Sponsorship on his cap while we had reserved it for Philipp Morris. But those are details if you had to bring in Senna to Ferrari.”

    So when Fiorio went back to Maranello after the French GP, a race that Ferrari won, he wrote a letter of intent, noting all the issues they discussed and he sent it to Senna so he could sign and return it from his fax machine.

    “This was used, as to say, against me from the Ferrari President, Mr. Piero Fusaro, who started a personal war against me and he couldn’t win. I took over the team and brought success, but he found a system and by that he beat me. Fusaro went to Prost with the LOI and informed him that I was trying to bring in Senna. From that moment onwards, I had trouble in my collaboration with Prost. Things started getting very complicated and the situation went unbearable. So I had to quit”.
    “So that transfer was never completed. I kept this document in my safe for almost 20 years and recently I thought this should come out. I even wrote a book about that.”
    In the early 2000s, I was told that a pre-contract, or more correctly a letter of intent, existed between Ayrton Senna and Cesare Fiorio, team manager of Ferrari from 1989 until the Monaco GP two years later, for the Brazilian to race for Ferrari in ’91 and ‘92. The legend had it that Fioro possessed the pre-contract and kept it in his safe. So this year, I decided to seek out the first-hand story of this agreement.

    “My priority when I went to Ferrari in 1989 was to have the best available driver”, remembers Mr. Fiorio, “And of course Senna was first on my shopping list, second was [Alain] Prost and of course [Nigel] Mansell whom I had in the team. My goal was to replace Gerhard Berger with Senna, so I started talks immediately. Senna pointed out that he had a contract for next year, so we could not do any deal. We decided to talk again soon. I managed to bring Prost to the team [for 1990] who created a very good lineup with Mansell.”

    “In 1990, I tried again to speak with Ayrton, who was interested in coming to Ferrari, so the initial approach was very easy, since we both wanted to collaborate. After the Brazilian GP of 1990, a race we won with Alain, I didn’t leave Sao Paolo on Sunday evening and I stayed for one more day. Senna sent a chauffeur to pick me up from my hotel and he drove me to his house. I remember staying there from 9 in the morning to 7 in the afternoon to talk about all the issues, because later I had a flight to catch. There were no managers, no lawyers, just me and him. We stopped the conversation for a quick lunch with members of his family and we went back on. At the end of the day we had solved the 80% of the issues, and practically the 80% of the deal was done. We said goodbye with the aim to speak again in the near future.”

    “The near future was the Thursday before the French GP that took place at Le Castellet, at the start of July. We used to travel with a private plane to the track, so the plane made a stop to Nice and I went out. The rest continued. I went to see Ayrton at his home in Monaco. We continued the talks to finish the rest 20% that was remaining and some other small issues, like the fact that he had a Nacional Sponsorship on his cap while we had reserved it for Philipp Morris. But those are details if you had to bring in Senna to Ferrari.”

    So when Fiorio went back to Maranello after the French GP, a race that Ferrari won, he wrote a letter of intent, noting all the issues they discussed and he sent it to Senna so he could sign and return it from his fax machine.

    “This was used, as to say, against me from the Ferrari President, Mr. Piero Fusaro, who started a personal war against me and he couldn’t win. I took over the team and brought success, but he found a system and by that he beat me. Fusaro went to Prost with the LOI and informed him that I was trying to bring in Senna. From that moment onwards, I had trouble in my collaboration with Prost. Things started getting very complicated and the situation went unbearable. So I had to quit”.
    “So that transfer was never completed. I kept this document in my safe for almost 20 years and recently I thought this should come out. I even wrote a book about that.”
    In the early 2000s, I was told that a pre-contract, or more correctly a letter of intent, existed between Ayrton Senna and Cesare Fiorio, team manager of Ferrari from 1989 until the Monaco GP two years later, for the Brazilian to race for Ferrari in ’91 and ‘92. The legend had it that Fioro possessed the pre-contract and kept it in his safe. So this year, I decided to seek out the first-hand story of this agreement.

    “My priority when I went to Ferrari in 1989 was to have the best available driver”, remembers Mr. Fiorio, “And of course Senna was first on my shopping list, second was [Alain] Prost and of course [Nigel] Mansell whom I had in the team. My goal was to replace Gerhard Berger with Senna, so I started talks immediately. Senna pointed out that he had a contract for next year, so we could not do any deal. We decided to talk again soon. I managed to bring Prost to the team [for 1990] who created a very good lineup with Mansell.”

    “In 1990, I tried again to speak with Ayrton, who was interested in coming to Ferrari, so the initial approach was very easy, since we both wanted to collaborate. After the Brazilian GP of 1990, a race we won with Alain, I didn’t leave Sao Paolo on Sunday evening and I stayed for one more day. Senna sent a chauffeur to pick me up from my hotel and he drove me to his house. I remember staying there from 9 in the morning to 7 in the afternoon to talk about all the issues, because later I had a flight to catch. There were no managers, no lawyers, just me and him. We stopped the conversation for a quick lunch with members of his family and we went back on. At the end of the day we had solved the 80% of the issues, and practically the 80% of the deal was done. We said goodbye with the aim to speak again in the near future.”

    “The near future was the Thursday before the French GP that took place at Le Castellet, at the start of July. We used to travel with a private plane to the track, so the plane made a stop to Nice and I went out. The rest continued. I went to see Ayrton at his home in Monaco. We continued the talks to finish the rest 20% that was remaining and some other small issues, like the fact that he had a Nacional Sponsorship on his cap while we had reserved it for Philipp Morris. But those are details if you had to bring in Senna to Ferrari.”

    So when Fiorio went back to Maranello after the French GP, a race that Ferrari won, he wrote a letter of intent, noting all the issues they discussed and he sent it to Senna so he could sign and return it from his fax machine.

    “This was used, as to say, against me from the Ferrari President, Mr. Piero Fusaro, who started a personal war against me and he couldn’t win. I took over the team and brought success, but he found a system and by that he beat me. Fusaro went to Prost with the LOI and informed him that I was trying to bring in Senna. From that moment onwards, I had trouble in my collaboration with Prost. Things started getting very complicated and the situation went unbearable. So I had to quit”.
    “So that transfer was never completed. I kept this document in my safe for almost 20 years and recently I thought this should come out. I even wrote a book about that.”
    In the early 2000s, I was told that a pre-contract, or more correctly a letter of intent, existed between Ayrton Senna and Cesare Fiorio, team manager of Ferrari from 1989 until the Monaco GP two years later, for the Brazilian to race for Ferrari in ’91 and ‘92. The legend had it that Fioro possessed the pre-contract and kept it in his safe. So this year, I decided to seek out the first-hand story of this agreement.

    “My priority when I went to Ferrari in 1989 was to have the best available driver”, remembers Mr. Fiorio, “And of course Senna was first on my shopping list, second was [Alain] Prost and of course [Nigel] Mansell whom I had in the team. My goal was to replace Gerhard Berger with Senna, so I started talks immediately. Senna pointed out that he had a contract for next year, so we could not do any deal. We decided to talk again soon. I managed to bring Prost to the team [for 1990] who created a very good lineup with Mansell.”

    “In 1990, I tried again to speak with Ayrton, who was interested in coming to Ferrari, so the initial approach was very easy, since we both wanted to collaborate. After the Brazilian GP of 1990, a race we won with Alain, I didn’t leave Sao Paolo on Sunday evening and I stayed for one more day. Senna sent a chauffeur to pick me up from my hotel and he drove me to his house. I remember staying there from 9 in the morning to 7 in the afternoon to talk about all the issues, because later I had a flight to catch. There were no managers, no lawyers, just me and him. We stopped the conversation for a quick lunch with members of his family and we went back on. At the end of the day we had solved the 80% of the issues, and practically the 80% of the deal was done. We said goodbye with the aim to speak again in the near future.”

    “The near future was the Thursday before the French GP that took place at Le Castellet, at the start of July. We used to travel with a private plane to the track, so the plane made a stop to Nice and I went out. The rest continued. I went to see Ayrton at his home in Monaco. We continued the talks to finish the rest 20% that was remaining and some other small issues, like the fact that he had a Nacional Sponsorship on his cap while we had reserved it for Philipp Morris. But those are details if you had to bring in Senna to Ferrari.”

    So when Fiorio went back to Maranello after the French GP, a race that Ferrari won, he wrote a letter of intent, noting all the issues they discussed and he sent it to Senna so he could sign and return it from his fax machine.

    “This was used, as to say, against me from the Ferrari President, Mr. Piero Fusaro, who started a personal war against me and he couldn’t win. I took over the team and brought success, but he found a system and by that he beat me. Fusaro went to Prost with the LOI and informed him that I was trying to bring in Senna. From that moment onwards, I had trouble in my collaboration with Prost. Things started getting very complicated and the situation went unbearable. So I had to quit”.
    “So that transfer was never completed. I kept this document in my safe for almost 20 years and recently I thought this should come out. I even wrote a book about that.”
    FERRARI FOR EVER !!!!!!!

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    But how did Senna reacted when Mr. Fiorio first approached him?
    “I was young in F1,” says Mr. Fiorio. “Although I took part in many championships, prototypes and so on, I was young in F1, and he didn’t know me as a manager. He told me right away that he couldn’t come because he had a contract. I said that there is no issue, since I needed time to build the correct team for him”.

    Did Ayrton had any special requests though?
    “He had some things that he asked,” Mr. Fiorio recalls. “He wanted to know the plan we had on technical enforcement and he asked to bring in Steve Nichols from McLaren because he knew him very well and he wanted to change environment. But I wanted also to enforce my team since I had broken up with John Barnard. So I asked him to point out what he thought it could suit."

    Did Senna asked for a specific teammate?
    “No no no”, says Mr. Fiorio. “The only thing he said was that I should find the fastest available. This was a surprise for me because all the top drivers wanted someone that wasn’t as fast, so they could control him. But he said that he wanted to have the fastest available so he can be sure that he gets out the maximum from Qualifying and the Races, but if he wouldn’t be as fast he would know that he didn’t do the best job he could. And this was a surprise."

    Later on, Mr. Fiorio and Senna met several times at the paddock but they kept the dealings discreet. The deal never concluded, but even now, more than 20 years later it’s yet fascinating to learn details about the biggest pilot transfer in the sport history. There are a lot of F1 fans out there that would have gone crazy if that deal was fulfilled. The greatest driver in the F1 history, amongst with the legendary Prancing Horse. It’s almost certain that history would have been a lot different for both of them._
    This is the document that Mr Fiorio kindly granted to GOCAR:
    Attachment 5849

    http://www.gocar.gr/races/f1/12562,A...that_was_.html
    FERRARI FOR EVER !!!!!!!

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    Thanks for sharing this

    And wow, what a shame internal politics and infighting got in the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parabolica View Post
    Couldn't stand the hideous character (other words more accurately descriptive are available but not suitable for a family forum) so glad it never sat in a Ferrari.

    After Suzuka 1990 I'd have happily seen him executed.

    Didn't shed any crocodile tears 4 years later.
    Man was a genius. The only non-Ferrari guy that I am a fan of. He would have been brilliant here.

    -Lou(is)
    Forza
    Ferrari 16/15

    Totus Tuus


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tifoso View Post
    Man was a genius. The only non-Ferrari guy that I am a fan of. He would have been brilliant here.

    even didn't knew it that there was already a letter of intent ...
    "If I was driving for Red Bull [from 2008] probably I would have more championships, but because they were dominating between 2010 and 2014 probably I would never have driven for Ferrari. I am very happy and very proud to drive for Ferrari, all my time there.

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    Don't like Senna as a Mclaren driver, but if he had driven for Ferrari then I'm sure he would've been brilliant and I would absolutely love him right now. But because he was the golden boy of the disgusting Mclaren camp I have no warm feelings towards him, although I certainly respect him and consider him as one of the best drivers ever. He was fast and good, no doubt about that, facts speak for themselves, but as the favorite son of uncle Ron and the vile Macca gang I will always think of Senna as the enemy. My support and love is reserved only for Ferrari and Ferrari drivers.
    KEEP CALM AND LOVE FERRARI


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tifoso View Post
    Man was a genius. The only non-Ferrari guy that I am a fan of. He would have been brilliant here.
    This is also my thoughts...a professional driver and drive to win, he would be just Senna!

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    Ferrari missed out, he was the best ever during his time in F1. Now Ferrari has Alonso, who is the best now in F1.
    [SIGPIC]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parabolica View Post
    Why not?

    Are we not supposed to give our honest opinion?

    After Suzuka 1990 this Tifoso would have found it difficult to support such a man.
    And you watched last GP of 1997 season in Jerez?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parabolica View Post
    Yes.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe that Schumi got into the car that morning with intent.

    There is a big difference.
    ... any way, I see from your posts above that there is no point of arguing further with you about this topic... But at least show some respect for dead person!
    I didn't like him also, and to be true with all you here. I don't like any who is not driving for Ferrari. I was absolute disgusted with MS, coz' he was destroying the field and therefore Ferrari also. I am Ferrari supporter only! Team over driver!

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    Is he not supposed to give his honest opinion?

    Methinks thou doth protest too much
    Last edited by abbottcostello; 27th April 2014 at 04:02. Reason: Fixing my grammar
    Forza Ferrari !
    "You need great passion, because everything you do with great pleasure, you do well." - Juan Manuel Fangio

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    Quote Originally Posted by stefa View Post
    ... any way, I see from your posts above that there is no point of arguing further with you about this topic... But at least show some respect for dead person!
    I didn't like him also, and to be true with all you here. I don't like any who is not driving for Ferrari. I was absolute disgusted with MS, coz' he was destroying the field and therefore Ferrari also. I am Ferrari supporter only! Team over driver!
    All good points
    Forza Ferrari !
    "You need great passion, because everything you do with great pleasure, you do well." - Juan Manuel Fangio

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    I was never a Senna fan for the same reasons as Nero Horse, he drove for Mclaren and then Williams, so that was a no-no. I admired his talent but not his methods, of course if he'd been in a Ferrari, I'd have supported him, just like I did with Michael. Whether Ferrari could have provided him with the car he needed is another matter, but a lost opportunity nonetheless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parabolica View Post
    Couldn't stand the hideous character (other words more accurately descriptive are available but not suitable for a family forum) so glad it never sat in a Ferrari.

    After Suzuka 1990 I'd have happily seen him executed.

    Didn't shed any crocodile tears 4 years later.



    I think there is something wrong with you........just sharing my thoughts by the way.

    Senna was absolutely phenomenal. I know a direct comparison can never be made of drivers in F1, but for me he is the best ever.

    It is truly a shame he never donned the Scuderia red overalls. It was a dream and a passion of him and he would have driven for Ferrari before he retired.

    RIP

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    To all the Formula1 drivers that are not among us, Rest in peace.
    I am happy with all my heart that the safety of the cars and regulations nowadays is superb.
    ||||||||||||||||||||||

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    We all know how Alonso will come from nowhere up to the front with no fear. [ podium last race]. I remember Prost being quoted in an interview saying,
    " The biggest fear in F1 is looking in your mirror and seeing that yellow helmet!" Prost joined Williams in 93 only if they put a clause in the contract that Senna couldn't join the team for a year. Ayrton was the best!
    Last edited by brembo man; 26th April 2014 at 10:37.
    [SIGPIC]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nero Horse View Post
    Don't like Senna as a Mclaren driver, but if he had driven for Ferrari then I'm sure he would've been brilliant and I would absolutely love him right now. But because he was the golden boy of the disgusting Mclaren camp I have no warm feelings towards him, although I certainly respect him and consider him as one of the best drivers ever. He was fast and good, no doubt about that, facts speak for themselves, but as the favorite son of uncle Ron and the vile Macca gang I will always think of Senna as the enemy. My support and love is reserved only for Ferrari and Ferrari drivers.
    +1. Too me I will always hate him as he never drove a Ferrari and had all his success with that horrible team from Woking, plus what he did in 1990. If he drove for Ferrari I would have loved him but he did not so do not care. Same with Alonso, as he drove a McLaren I hated him until 2010 when he drove a Ferrari, love him now.

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    Ferrari has the modern Senna, is called Fernando Alonso.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingdom Hearts View Post
    Ferrari has the modern Senna, is called Fernando Alonso.

    Why has the Imola tribute got the banking from Monza on it and not a picture of the Tamburello corner?

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    For me , i grow up watcing him become one of the greatest and in the same time i was already a ferrari fan mostly on production cars!!!So there was a conflict in me and my biggest desire was him dressed in reds!!!!!
    Later i was thrilled watcing MC achieving all this unprecedented results but i never comper him with ayrton.
    Now i have to say that watcing Fernando i see a lot of ayrton in him!!!!So its like half of my dream came true!!!!!
    Last edited by PURE PASSION; 26th April 2014 at 17:15.
    FERRARI FOR EVER !!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PURE PASSION View Post
    ...a farrari fan...
    *sigh*
    KEEP CALM AND LOVE FERRARI


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    Quote Originally Posted by Parabolica View Post
    Now, don't let facts get in the way of the Senna myth.
    What myth? It's just a background picture for a tribute you probably don't care much about anyway

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    Given the best equipment as Senna was with Mclaren, Fernando would certainly be up there with Ayrton. Even with the ups and downs of his stint at Ferrari so far, he is already legendary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nero Horse View Post
    *sigh*
    Yes,terrible mistake!!!!!!
    FERRARI FOR EVER !!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parabolica View Post
    It is a myth that Senna was the greatest.
    It's an opinion, not sure where you got the greatest from the picture though?

    Don't think anyone has said he was the greatest either?
    Forza Ferrari

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greig View Post
    It's an opinion, not sure where you got the greatest from the picture though?

    Don't think anyone has said he was the greatest either?



    Oh i do parabolica, i do say he is the greatest ever. Just if you ever wondered.

    Sorry Greig, but i don't care what parabolica believes or thinks about anything at all

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManFromMilan View Post
    Oh i do parabolica, i do say he is the greatest ever. Just if you ever wondered.

    Sorry Greig, but i don't care what parabolica believes or thinks about anything at all
    Me too. No one was better, more committed ever. Just look at what the drivers think and it gives you the best measure. Senna always comes out on top of driver ratings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark p View Post
    +1. Too me I will always hate him as he never drove a Ferrari and had all his success with that horrible team from Woking, plus what he did in 1990. If he drove for Ferrari I would have loved him but he did not so do not care. Same with Alonso, as he drove a McLaren I hated him until 2010 when he drove a Ferrari, love him now.
    I have to assume you were a big fan of Rubens and loved him too. Very cool !
    [SIGPIC]

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    I read that the contract schumi got was the one which was ready for Senna.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRebel40 View Post
    I read that the contract schumi got was the one which was ready for Senna.
    Where did you read that? Link?
    KEEP CALM AND LOVE FERRARI


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