F1 News: Sebastian Vettel's Father Left in Tears After His Emotional Ayrton Senna Tribute

Sebastian Vettel's tribute to Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix left his father, Norbert, in tears.
Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel / Red Bull Content Pool

Ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel drove a tribute lap in Ayrton Senna's 1993 McLaren MP4/8, leaving his father, Norbert Vettel, visibly emotional. This tribute marked the 30th anniversary of the fatalities of Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the same venue.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix hosted a deeply poignant tribute this weekend, commemorating the 30th anniversary of one of Formula 1's darkest weekends โ€” the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix where Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger tragically lost their lives. A tribute lap by Vettel, who navigated the historic Imola circuit in the McLaren MP4/8 that Senna raced in 1993, made for an emotional moment during the weekend.

Vettel, wearing a helmet designed to honor both Senna and Ratzenberger, delivered a touching homage to the legendary drivers. In an emotional display, he drove with one hand while holding both the Brazilian and Austrian flags in the other towards the lap's end. The scene was especially moving for Norbert Vettel, Sebastian's father, witnessing his son driving the car of his idol, Ayrton Senna. One F1 fan shared a video to social media, writing:

"Norbert Vettel was a Senna fan, 30 years later he saw his son driving the car of his idol... This is unbelievable."

The 1994 weekend marked a significant turning point in Formula 1, leading to increased safety protocols and regulations. Roland Ratzenberger lost his life during the qualifying session, and Senna succumbed to injuries from a crash on race day.

Vettel commented ahead of the race weekend, as quoted by Formula One:

โ€œAyrton Senna was not only a driver who I valued highly for being one of the best racing has ever seen, but also a man of great compassion. Itโ€™s been 30 years since his accident and I would like to pay tribute to Ayrton.

โ€œI will be in Imola for the Grand Prix to drive his car, the McLaren MP4/8. I hope to see you on Sunday, May 19.โ€

Lydia Mee


Lydia is the lead editor of F1 editorial. After following the sport for several years, she was finally able to attend the British Grand Prix in person in 2017. Since then, she's been addicted to not only the racing, but the atmosphere the fans bring to each event. She's a strong advocate for women in motorsport and a more diverse industry.ย