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Firman aims to emulate hero Senna 05 Mar 2003

Ralph Firman Jnr (GBR) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 5 March 2003

Not every racing driver can claim to have seen Ayrton Senna wandering around the landing at his family home, but it's a memory that sticks with Ralph Firman. The great Brazilian drove for his father's Van Diemen race car company in the early Eighties, when Ralph was five.

"Ayrton was my hero because he was probably the greatest ever," Firman says. "I used to look up to him and respected him a lot. He was a family friend and stayed with us for six months in his Lotus days, and the family kept in touch."

He is cautious about his own chances of winning the champion's crown, but says: "I've got the opportunity to race in Formula One and I am more mature and better prepared I think for the pressures of it and everything else around it. I'm very glad that I've got the opportunity and am lucky to have the chance to race in my dream category, which is Formula One.

"I have always been champion in everything I've raced before. My aim in F1 is to start winning races, to prove myself and to get the chance to stay, and for sure I aim to win the championship one day."