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McLaren unveil special Senna tribute livery on the eve of Monaco Grand Prix weekend

Written by Vyas Ponnuri

McLaren unveiled a stunning tri-colour livery in honour of triple world champion Ayrton Senna on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

The team revealed their new livery through an announcement on social media, captioned, "For Senna, and all that he stood for," on Instagram, and "This one means more," on X. Both platforms also saw the hashtag Senna 30 and Senna Sempre (Brazilian for 'Senna always'), highlighting three decades since the Brazilian maestro's death, and the legacy he'd left behind.

The special livery features McLaren's traditional orange swapped out for a lighter yellow shade, bedecked with green on the rear of the car, while inserts of blue make up the front wing and adorn the space of the driver numbers.

The livery pays homage to the colours on Senna's helmet, the Brazilian's helmet adorning the colours of his country's flag, the combination of a yellow and green helmet and the red/white Marlboro McLaren etched in memories of fans and followers of the sport during the late 80s and the early 90s.

The decision to design such a unique livery for the Monaco Grand Prix is another strategic masterstroke by the team from Woking, with Monaco's streets having witnessed many moments of Ayrton Senna brilliance. Senna won six Monaco Grands-Prix racing for McLaren, the last five coming in succession between 1989 and 1993 for the team sporting red and white liveries back then.

Senna also won the race in 1987 for the team, and would've likely made it seven Monaco victories in a row, had he not driven into the barriers at the Portier corner in 1988, leading by almost a minute from famous rival teammate Alain Prost. The weekend was definitely among Senna's best, the McLaren racer having put in an astonishing qualifying lap a day earlier, with many dubbing it as "The Greatest ever qualifying lap."

Monaco was also the scene of Senna's breakthrough race in Formula One, back in 1984, when he displayed supreme pace in the wet weather, to move up from 11th to second in a wet-weather affected race, even standing a chance of passing race leader Prost, had the race not been red flagged due to inclement weather.

Senna's legacy extends even beyond his stellar Monaco drives, as he took 35 of his 41 victories for McLaren, and won each of his three world championships racing for the team, in 1988, 1990, and 1991. Alongside teammate Prost, the duo smashed multiple records and fought tooth and nail for the world championships in the late 80s.

McLaren also unveiled a special one-off McLaren Senna carrying the same colours as their special livery for the Monaco weekend, the road car's livery hand-painted by McLaren Special Operations, and featuring dot matrix portraits of the Brazilian legend.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown expressed his thoughts on the special livery for the weekend, recognising the impact the Brazilian had on the Woking outfit back in the 80s and 90s:

“The team is proud to recognise and celebrate the extraordinary life and racing legacy of Ayrton Senna through this McLaren livery."

“Senna remains revered and respected as Formula 1’s greatest icon, and McLaren’s most decorated driver.

“His impact on McLaren is enormous, not only through his racing record but also presence within the team, and now his legacy, so it’s an honour to race for him at his most successful circuit in his green, yellow and blue colours.

“With it being the 30th anniversary of his passing, the team are choosing to recognise and celebrate his life at one of his favourite and most successful places to race, Monaco. We look forward to racing in this vibrant and beautiful livery this weekend.”

The tributes for Senna continue pouring in from last week's Imola Grand Prix weekend, with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel taking the wheel of the Brazilian's last race-winning car, the McLaren MP4/8 from Senna's 1993 Formula One season, and hosting a run around the Imola circuit to commemorate the passing of Senna, and Austrian racer Roland Ratzenberger, three decades on from the deaths of both racers.

McLaren will run a special livery for the third time in the last four Monaco Grand Prix weekends, the team having run a special Gulf livery to mark their partnership with Gulf Oil back in 2021, when Lando Norris took a podium. The team also ran a special "Triple Crown Livery" last season, celebrating their participation in the motorsport events forming the triple crown: Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The special livery's colours will also be reflected on the race suits of drivers Norris and Oscar Piastri, both drivers featuring bespoke overalls matching their cars for the weekend. The Senna liveried McLaren MCL38 will be in action during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, first taking to the track on Friday afternoon for Free Practice 1.


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