Last Tuesday, I went back to Imola, to Tamburello, to the very same spot where Ayrton lost his life nearly 20 years ago.  I was with a Mail on Sunday reporter, Malcolm Folley. The only otter time I had been there since 1st May 1994 was three months ago when I met a TV Globo crew doing an excellent 4 part documentary about Ayrton’s life. I did think it was a good idea then. I mean, I wanted, I thought I needed to go there again. I believed it might even be cathartic. Well, it was in some ways. But it was also very painful. To say I felt sad it is stating the obvious. I also felt emotionally crushed, moved, anxious and angry. I will eventually write more about that relentlessly painful weekend.

For now, It is Easter Sunday and I have no intention of ruining anybody else’s family gathering. I have posted some of my reminiscences. Senna x Irvine, Senna x Piquet. Senna at Donington.  Click on the Menu and scroll down. I have the posts in English and Portuguese

I am sting near Ayrton Senna statued

I am next to his sad statue at Imola park.

Here is the link to Malcolm’s article.

About Betise Assumpcao Head

Communicator, specialized in Media Relations, Reputation, Crisis Management, corporate or individual. I started as a Sports Journalist (7 years, Mains newspapers and magazines in Brazil) turned into World Wide Press Officer (Senna 1990/1994), been to Games in Barcelona Atlanta, London & Rio 2016. Italy, Germany & Brazilian World Cups.

5 responses to “SENNA: BACK TO IMOLA AFTER 20 YEARS”

  1. Nick Warner says :

    Hi Betise

    No need to apologise; you haven’t ruined my family gathering on Easter day; quite the contrary in fact! I enjoyed your piece with Malcolm Folley immensely although I’m sure that, for you personally, the trip to Imola will have been an extremely sad and difficult one. I also enjoyed Richard West’s brilliant piece in the April edition of F1 Racing magazine – you may possibly have seen it?

    I too have very mixed feelings about Imola. I was privileged to have been a spectator there for the GP in both 1989 & 1991, when of course Ayrton won on both occasions. The memories of being there will, for me, never fade. Happy memories. But then there was the tragic weekend of 1994.

    I count myself very lucky to have watched many of his races from the side of the tracks throughout Europe during that ‘golden era’ for F1. As a fan, I was never lucky enough to meet him however, now the most important thing is reading the memories of those who were close to him and worked with him. I’m glad I’ve found your blog (and Twitter – where I’m now a follower) and am looking forward to following it during a momentous sporting period for Brasil; the World Cup and Olympics. But, MOST of all, I’m looking forward to more of your memories of Ayrton.

    I’m convinced people will still want to read about him in another 20 years time. To me, he was, and will always be, ‘irreplaceable’.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Finally, rest in peace Ayrton; thanks for all the memories.


    • Betise Assumpcao Head says :

      HI Nick. I am so very glad you bothered to write to me. Ayrton has touched so many people in so many ways. And, you are right, memories is what we keep and remembering his wins are the right things to remember him by. Thanks for following me at Twitter and here. Kindest regards. Betise


  2. ian borg says :

    Hi Betise, thanks so much for writing about Ayrton. I have endless books about him, but i never get tired of reading about him. I know it must be so heartbreaking for you going to imola, but at the same time I think it could feel a peaceful and reflective place to go to as well. I went there last year and cried when i saw the spot where he died still with so many flags and flowers by the thousands of fans that have gone there since his death. I also had the opportunity to stay in the very same room, no:200 at hotel Castello, in which he spent his last night. It was sooo emotional,but i loved every minute of it, it made me feel so close to him to be able to look out of the window and imagine him doing the same,or simply sitting on the bed and looking at the telephone,imagining him calling adrianne the night when Roland had died. I will be going again next month for the 20th anniversary,and i cant wait.
    sometimes i think that because he was so religious,maybe god had it all planned out for him. He had won so many times in the sport, done so much good, and he left a legacy behind him as not only a good driver,but a great human being. The motivation his sister,and family got to continue the work with the senninha character and the establishment of the senna foundation made so much good in brazil, its unbelievable when you think about it.
    anyway, i always enjoy reading about him, and i loved the mail write up about your trip, thanks.
    p.s. It would be awesome if one day you could write a book from your perspective about the great driver himself.


    • Betise Assumpcao Head says :

      Hi Ian, I am sorry it took so long to answer. I thought I had done so and only now did I realise I haven’t. Well, there is certainly a lot of books around about him. The best of them all, though, it is not yet out in English. It has been written by a Brazilian journalist called Ernesto Rodrigues and I believe he is discussing with an English publisher about printing it here. let’s hope so. You’ll love it.
      Not sure about writing a book. In Brazil, there is a law that anyone can stop my book if they simply feel offended or don’t like something I write!! I know, preposterous and primeval. I wouldn’t like to write a book and have to hide things, not mention other, make Ayrton look like God. HIs beauty, to me, is that he had so many flaws and that he tried to overcome them in many ways. Anyway, I am writing my reminiscences here now. Thanks for reading them.


  3. Nick Warner says :

    ‘Flaws’ are indeed a positive thing – he wouldn’t have been human without them. Even Mandela had flaws! On the subject of books, I believe that I’ve read all of the (English) books on Ayrton and, to be absolutely honest, none of them has really stood out as truly great. One of the most disappointing was Tom Rubython’s large book which promised much but delivered very little. A personal favourite was Christopher Hilton’s ‘Memories of Senna’ – a collection of personal memories of some of those who had worked with him. The Rodrigues book sounds promising. Let’s hope it’s published in English one day. From a photographic point of view, I’m luck enough to have a copy of a very limited book ‘Driving to Perfection’ – Schlegelmich – a collection of breath-taking photos.


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