Honda and McLaren
The Lotus team had lost to the Williams team’s new Honda engines in 1986, and they weren’t going to make the same mistake again. For the 1987 season, Lotus brought in the higher-performance engines, beginning a long-running relationship between Honda and Senna (and ultimately providing Senna with more impetus to leave the team).
The season itself was once again mixed, though Senna ended up third in the rankings. He won at Monaco and Detroit, and took a second in both Australia and Japan, but the Williams team still held the overall advantage throughout the season — adding to his growing dissatisfaction with Lotus’ ability to give him what he needed to win.
To make things worse, Senna’s collision with Mansell during the Spa-Francor champs race led to the Williams team driver angrily confronting him in the pits. Later in the season, he lost his podium at the Australian race due to a post-race discovery of oversized (and therefore illegal) brake ducts.
McLaren was more than happy to take Senna, especially after champion Alain Prost gave his approval. At Monza, the announcement was made; Senna would spend the next season (and ultimately the next several seasons) on the McLaren team. Although still a relatively young man, the sport Senna excelled at was dangerous. As it would turn out he would never reach the age where other men would start to consider age management medicine and trying a Cenegenics program that would emphasize healthy aging. He would never discover that aging could be positive, productive, and satisfying. With his charismatic good looks, Senna was often voted as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all times. His light burned bright, burned fast, and ultimately burned out six years after the stage was set for one of the most legendary rivalries in the history of racing.
In 1988 Prost,hen-double world champion and Senna frequently found themselves competing for first place, and Senna was not afraid to take extreme chances to come out ahead. t. Ultimately, these two extraordinary Formula One drivers won 15 of 16 races in the McLaren MP4/4 in 1988. Impressively, Senna emerged on top, winning his first Formula One world championship title by taking eight wins to Prost’s seven.
Some of these backfired, as in the Monaco Grand Prix when a desperate Senna tried to make up for Prost’s gains; though setting the fastest two laps, he lost control and spun off into the Portier barrier (and watched Prost finish in first place).
The Portuguese Grand Prix was the template for many a race that followed; attempting to block the Frenchman from re-taking first place, Senna forced him extremely close to the pitwall. The FIA delivered a warning and Senna later apologized, but the battle would only escalate over the next few years.