1983 - "Senna was very impressive, I must say," was the comment of Frank Williams following the Brazilian Formula 3 star's Donnington test in an FW08C last week.
"What impressed me most," Frank went on, "was that he got into the rhythm very speedily, and quickly got down to a good time. It didn't seem too difficult for him..."
Ayrton used the Silverstone spare car for his test, and was on "B" compound Goodyears throughout. "His best time was 60.90s," said Frank, "and he did it several times. There were no spins in the course of 83 laps. I saw him get up on the kerb once, and that was it.
"Another thing is that he was was very uncomfortable in the car, he was using Jacques Lafitte's scat, and he's quite a bit bigger than Jacques. He'd never driven anything as quick as an F1 car, but you would never have thought so".
Frank was quick to stress, however, that this did not indicate the imminent arrival of Senna in the Williams team. "No, I'm looking upon it as a kind of longterm investiment in the future.
There's no way we can handle him next year because of out current situation. And I think Bernie Ecclestone's going to offer him a deal. But the came to see me a while ago, asking for advice, saying that everyone was offering him 400 year deals and so on, the usual stuff. I told him that I couldn't really advise him, but that if it would help him to get the feel of the thing, he could have a run in one of our cars whenever it suited him.
"Now, I wasn't acting philanthropically, but I hope in the future that he'll remember we treated him fairly."