(Reuters) – The Williams Formula One team have decided to remove logos paying tribute to fallen Brazilian great Ayrton Senna from their cars starting this season, with the former champions making a break with the past and embarking on a new era.
The triple champion, hailed and mourned as one of the greatest talents the sport has ever seen, was killed while racing for the Grove-based team in 1994 at Imola in only his third race as a Williams driver.
The team cars have carried various iterations of the Senna logo, from the trademark Senna ‘S’ to special edition stickers, every year starting 1995.
“The decision was that we want to move on in the future,” team principal Jost Capito told reporters shortly after the outfit unveiled their new livery for the 2022 season.
“We have a new era, we have a new car and we refurbished also our museum where we have a special area to celebrate Ayrton.
“We had to look now in the future and not showing the drivers the ‘S’ all the time they get in the car and being reminded on what happened.”
Capito said Williams, who also fielded the Brazilian’s nephew Bruno Senna for a season in 2012, had not discussed the move with the Senna family.
But he said the team were looking to work more closely with the Senna Foundation, a philanthropic organisation set up by Senna’s sister Viviane in 1994.
“More people benefit from this and if we can help people especially through the foundation, I think that’s a very good programme but it has to be still finely defined,” said Capito.
Williams, who unveiled a blue diamond-pattered livery with splashes of red, used the launch which coincides with the most radical Formula One rules overhaul in decades to emphasise a departure from the past and signal the dawn of a new era.
The team were sold by the Williams family to U.S.-based Dorilton Capital in the second half of 2020. Team founder Frank Williams, under whose leadership the outfit won nine constructors’ championships, seven drivers’ titles and 114 races, died last November at the age of 79.
“I think now it’s time for the team to move on and be very honourable to Senna and having a very dedicated space in the museum and honour him there,” said Capito.
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Christian Radnedge)