The 1984 United States Grand Prix. Ayrton Senna, in his debut season, ends his race on lap 47 after hitting a wall.
After the race, Ayrton debriefed with the team’s engineer, Pat Symonds.
‘It's impossible that I hit the wall. The wall moved’.
He was so insistent that Symonds agreed to go and look at the wall. The wall had moved.
It was made of large concrete blocks used to delineate the circuit, but someone had previously hit the far end of a block and pushed it, causing the leading edge to come out by a few millimetres.
He was driving with such precision that those few millimetres were enough for him to hit the wall that time rather than just miss it.
“That really opened my eyes. I knew the guy was good but that really told me how special. Not just the driving but this conviction, the analysis and then the conclusion: I cannot be wrong, so the wall must have moved.
Everyone else would say, ‘How on earth did I do that?’‘ but the conviction he had was just staggering. And he was right”.
Ayrton was right. But the wall, and Keke Rosberg, won.
On Lap 48, he was off the project.
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