What Was Senna’s Bizarre F1 Technique About?

Ayrton Senna had a really unusual throttle technique that simply doesn’t make much sense. What is the technique, why did you do it and would it work in today’s modern F1?

You may have read online that Senna had this really unusual technique where he would stamp on and off the throttle as he was exiting a corner.

In this video, we take a look at footage from Senna where you can clearly hear this blipping of the accelerator as is driving through the corner in his McLaren F1 car.

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Jonathan Palmer was a test driver at McLaren Formula One team and he describes Senna’s technique while they were driving together.

“Although I spent six years racing against Ayrton Senna in formula one, it really wasn’t until I joined McLaren as a test driver in 1990 that I had the chance to see exactly how fast he was and exactly how he did it.

Normally I do the first day or two pounding around getting down to what I thought was a very respectable time before Senna came along and within 10 laps, he would have been a second faster.”

Senna had such an unusual technique with many people saying it was because of his days driving turbo cars. The idea being that you can spool up the turbo with a flip on the accelerator pedal to reduce the turbo lag – basically when you get on the accelerator it spins the turbo up, which in turn forces air into the engine.

This means you can add more fuel and produce more power. When you’re braking and going through a corner only on part throttle the turbo won’t be spinning quite as quickly and therefore you won’t have as much power.

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