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Montezemolo: Senna would have retired at Ferrari

ESPN Staff
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Luca di Montezemolo insists Ayrton Senna would have ended his career with Ferrari had he lived, and says a deal was talked about just days before his death.

Thursday will mark two decades since Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, at a time he was driving for Williams, a car he hoped would give him the tools required to win a fourth world title. Ferrari attempted to sign Senna in 1989 and 1990 to no avail, but Montezemolo remembers the Brazilian telling him of his desire join the team.

"He wanted to come to Ferrari and I wanted him in the team," Montezemolo said. "When he was in Italy for the San Marino Grand Prix, we met at my home in Bologna on Wednesday, April 27. He told me he really appreciated the stand we had taken against the excessive use of electronic aids for driving, which didn't allow a driver's skill to shine through.

"We spoke for a long time and he made it clear to me that he wanted to end his career at Ferrari, having come close to joining us a few years earlier. We agreed to meet again soon, so as to look at how we could overcome his contractual obligations at the time. We were both in agreement that Ferrari would be the ideal place for him to further his career, which to date had been brilliant, even unique."

Montezemolo believes Senna was a rare breed both as a driver and as an individual, qualities which drew him to the Brazilian.

"I always appreciated Ayrton's style of racing. As with all great champions, he had an incredible will to win and never tired of seeking perfection, trying to improve all the time. He was extraordinary in qualifying, but also a great battler in the races, when he always fought tooth and nail.

"Of Senna, I remember his kindness and his simple almost shy nature, which was in complete contrast to Senna the driver, a fighter always aiming for the best."