Ayrton Senna, a Death Foretold

Original title: L’icône immolée

Publication Date:

March 2024



Original language and publisher

French | En Exergue

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French

Territories Sold

French Audio (Thélème)


Literary Fiction, Sport


  • Grand Prix Sport & Litterature (longlist)

Ayrton Senna, a Death Foretold

Original title: L’icône immolée


“Lionel Froissart emerges victorious from his delicate undertaking: a virtuoso tribute to the absolute” Le Journal du Dimanche

“…185 pages to savor!” — L’Equipe

“The author takes us into the head of Ayrton Senna, and it is a feat that he achieves. Lionel Froissart had to search through his memories as a journalist, who followed Formula 1 for the newspaper Libération or Sport Auto for decades. He knows everything about this golden age of Formula 1, where we had barely left the era of English gentlemen drivers. But above all, Lionel Froissart was close to Senna. Having Ayrton Senna speak in the first person with emotion, and being in the champion’s head that day, therefore seems to have been perfectly clear for him.” — France TV Info

“I wouldn’t have done this with any other driver. I don’t think I betrayed Ayrton and I think I knew and understood him well enough to dare. Afterwards, it is written in the form of a novel, so there are dialogues which are reconstructed. It’s a literary exercise that I wanted to try.” — interview in Le Point

“The author makes the daring bet of entering the body of the Brazilian by speaking in the first person to recount the tragic weekend of the San Marino Grand Prix thirty years ago.” — interview in Le Figaro

“I did research, like writing a profile. As I started with the idea of ​​a novel, I was less attached to absolute accuracy, but I realized that I was, I think, quite close to reality.” — interview in Ouest France

“Froissart, with his expert pen and in-depth knowledge of Formula 1, takes us into Senna’s thoughts and emotions, exploring the dangers of racing and the torments it brought to drivers. He brings to life the famous accidents and bitter rivalries, notably that with Alain Prost, that have marked the history of motor sport. “L’icône immolée” is not only a tribute to Senna, but also a reflection on the very essence of motor racing, on what drives drivers to constantly challenge their limits, and on the impact of their passion on their lives and legacies.” — interview on Radio Sport FR

Nearly thirty years after the untimely death of Ayrton Senna, his name still resonates on racetracks the world over. Not a Grand Prix goes by without some mention of his name in connection with the event. Like most major dates in recent history, people everywhere – and not just F1 enthusiasts – remember where they were and what they were doing on that fateful day in May 1994, when the iconic F1 driver was killed on the track at Imola.

The author invites the reader to re-live the events preceding the tragedy. Told from the perspective of Senna himself, the story gets inside the head of the man, and the legendary driver, to reveal Senna’s outlook – and misgivings – in the days preceding the fatal crash at Imola where his life was so savagely cut short.

Senna’s narrative is also the story of the Imola Circuit in Italy, where in the 10 years of Senna’s Grand Prix competition, dozens of serious incidents occurred – like harbingers of the tragedy to come. In these notorious curves, the lives of other racing greats – Piquet, Alboreto, and Berger, included – were senselessly lost.

But above all, it is Senna’s account of his hot-and-cold relationship with his closest adversary, Alain Prost, the man he admired and occasionally scorned. Ultimately he considered him a friend, with their relationship widely regarded as one of the fiercest rivalries in F1 history. Ironically, the final sad act of the legendary drama would play out where it had begun, at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

A riveting account of Senna’s struggle to make sense of it all and ultimately his decision to compete on what would be a dark day in F1 history.

Marketing Information

  • 3rd reprint in the making
  • The 30th anniversary of Aryton Senna’s death (May 1, 1994)
  • A leading F1 expert who knew Aryton Senna well