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F1: Beyond The Grid

Tommy Byrne: Senna’s early rival, a lost F1 champion?


Tommy Byrne’s talent in a racing car was likened to that of Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. To those who watched him closely, he was a champion in the making. Why, then, did his Formula 1 career last just five races in an uncompetitive car? Tommy tells Tom Clarkson the story of the impressive wins in junior categories – including one in Ayrton Senna’s car – which got him to F1 in 1982. He explains why his straight-talking personality and party lifestyle upset the F1 establishment and why he never got the opportunity to race for a front-running team. Tommy also remembers the McLaren test that could have changed his life and the shock, decades later, when he learned what was really going on behind-the-scenes that day at Silverstone.