Ayrton Senna ‘Driving Reign’

Project; Dancing Horse
2nd October 2020

I’ve been asked many many times ‘How are you going to beat that!?’ in regards to my driving pose sculpture of Ayrton, unveiled early 2019. And I’ve come to realise that I won’t – at least in terms of impact, and possibly not in terms of the hype that followed – that really was next level, and set the bar for everything that was to follow. This one though is undoubtedly more emotive – my earliest memories of F1, and celebrating Ayrton’s first F1 win in horrendous weather at Estoril 1985 in the black and gold of JPS Team Lotus.

‘Ayrton Senna – Driving Reign’ – Available as a lifesize statue, and soon in editions also at 60% (wind tunnel) scale, and 25% scale.

Massive thanks to SkyF1 for featuring in their Portugal race day show!

Public display arrangements for this new statue are still in discussion… definitive plans obviously tricky with Covid. For sure he will be at Silverstone F1 week. I would love to be shown at Festival of Speed too as I love that event. UK showings at Caffeine and Machine and with Supercar Driver too. In 2022 a 60% scale will travel to every race circuit with F1 Paddock club. Please email studio@pauloz.co.uk with any specific event/press inquiries from that.

It’s been a long year. No events, no race circuits, no airports, no meeting anyone. And I’ve long given up trying to organise anything big, because it’s a waste of energy pushing against obstacles out of my control. What this has meant though is far more head space and time to work than I would usually enjoy… and this new sculpture is a direct result of all of that. A year to get our heads down in the foundry and create something special. The freedom to create without agenda when everything else was being paused, and unveiling digitally without the stressful restrictions of a physical event.

You know my preference for the finish of a bronze statue in keeping it bare bronze almost golden in tone, and a finish that very few foundries in the world can cope with, because it leaves zero room for error or contaminants in casting. Combine that with the same black patina used on Alberto my dancing horse…. and you have the iconic colours that first got my attention turned to F1 – the black and gold of JPS Lotus.

My archive of Senna images is unsurprisingly extensive, many thousands… yet there is one that always stood out for me, which just happens to be from the weekend of that first victory in Estoril. Before the stunning saturday pole lap and lights to flag victory by over 1 minute in torrential rain on race day – during Friday practice the clutch on his Lotus 97T had failed, leaving him out on the circuit awaiting rescue, sitting on the side of the track behind the car. And created this photogenic, pensive moment.

And my interpretation of that…. in a 300kg life-size hyper realistic bronze statue;

The focus for the whole project was in the detail, to create Ayrton as lifelike as possible. And importantly a young Ayrton – his face changed a lot to how we most remember him from the McLaren title winning years – bell’s palsy and a temporary facial paralysis partly the cause early in 1985, as Bruno Senna highlighted to me when filming with my 1991 driving position statue, and I mentioned this project was on my mind.

The suit and boots are modelled on real life with the 3D capture expertise at Steve Russell Studios…. we’ve been refining this process now for three years, including the lessons learnt in modelling a 10ft tall rearing horse – all add to this being my most accurate creation to date. Each thread of the stitched sponsor logo’s can be seen, and each individual stitch in the suit taken back to ‘gold’.

The ‘Seiko Speedmaster’ watch with angled face too is exact – and show’s the time and date of the race finish in Estoril, 21.4.85.