Gerhard Berger: Making Ayrton Senna Laugh
In a joint helicopter ride at Monza Senna had been showing off his new tailor-made briefcase. Having been made of carbon fibre composite, Senna argued that it was virtually indestructible. Berger opened the door of the helicopter and threw the briefcase out, to Senna’s disbelief. Berger asserted innocently that he only sought to test the hypothesis.
Berger once replaced Senna’s passport photo with what Ron Dennis described as “an equivalent-sized piece of male genitalia”. Senna’s fame meant he rarely had his passport checked, but on a later trip to Argentina Berger’s prank resulted in officials holding the Brazilian for 24 hours. As a response to this gag, Senna superglued all of Berger’s credit cards together.
After Berger filled Senna’s bed in an Australian hotel with animals. Senna understandably infuriated, confronted Berger, who replied, “Did you find the snake?" This incident prompted retaliation by Senna, who then proceeded to put a strong smelling French cheese in the air conditioning unit of Berger’s room.
“After dinner, we started to throw people in the swimming pool, all dressed. As I was good at defending myself, I escaped from the bath, but many people got wet. Senna ran away to avoid us from getting him, however, later, I went to his room and he awkwardly threw a glass of water at me. For a Tyrolean, that was nothing, but it did mean that the game was now on. With a hose, we improvised an extension to the fire extinguisher and we put it under his room door at three in the morning. We invited some people to watch and when we pushed the lever, Senna flew out of the window like a rocket. It looked like a bomb had exploded inside the room. The confusion woke many people up, who started to scream at Senna for making so much noise. He was terribly embarrassed.”
-1990 Australian Grand Prix-