Senna's 1984 Toleman-Hart F1 car available at auction

Staff writer

Bonhams will offer at auction the first Formula 1 car that Ayrton Senna drove at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184, designed by Rory Byrne and Pat Symonds took Senna to his first ever podium finish in the sport, in somewhat controversial circumstances. Senna qualified in 13th position in the 1.5-liter turbo Toleman, but the race start was delayed due to heavy rain. The Brazilian's mastery of wet conditions would later become famous, but after just 31 laps and a number of retirements, he was just seven seconds behind the leader and pole-sitter Alain Prost.

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Race director Jacky Ickx decided to stop the race with a red flag on lap 32, with only nine of the 20 cars remaining. Prost slowed his McLaren, Senna passed and thought he had won the race. However F1 rules regard the last completed lap before the red flag as the final lap of the race, giving Prost the victory – his own first at the circuit. However, the win in the shortened race did Prost no favours either; as the race ended before 75% distance, he only scored half points and ended up losing the World Championship to Niki Lauda by half a point.

It's regarded as the event that sparked the famous Prost/Senna rivalry, and while Prost would go on to win four titles and four Monaco Grands Prix, Senna would set a record of six wins at the event – including five in a row from 1989-1993 – which is still unbeaten.

Also on offer at the auction is Senna's last Monaco Grand Prix car, a McLaren MP4/8, with which he won that record-breaking sixth event in 1993.

The auction, which Bonhams is calling the Monaco Sale, will take place in Monte Carlo on May 11.

By Andrew Evans