Ayrton Senna’s first F1 boss Ted Toleman dies at the age of 86

Ted Toleman, the team principal who handed Ayrton Senna his first drive in Formula 1, has died at the age of 86.

Toleman, born in South Africa but raised in Suffolk, passed away in Manila, the Philippines, on 10 April after suffering from a long illness.

Toleman orchestrated the entry of Toleman Motorsport into F1 in 1981 and signed Senna in 1984, beating Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team to the highly-rated Brazilian’s signature.

Senna secured three podiums in his one season for Toleman, and came close to victory in Monaco, before the team exited the championship in 1986 and sold up to Benetton. Senna, meanwhile, moved to Lotus for the 1985 season.

“Toleman Motorsport was the little team that could,” the Toleman family said in a statement.

“It gave birth to the careers of some of the great innovators in Formula 1, man who still have a strong presene in the sport today, including Rory Byrne, Alex Hawkridge, Pat Symonds, Ann Bradshaw, David Clare and the late Brian Hart.

"Toleman’s driving talent possessed some of the greats of Formula 1 in the ‘80s, including Senna, Derek Warwick, Piercarlo Ghinzani, Pierluigi Martini, Teo Fabi, Stefan Johansson, Bruno Giacomelli, Johnny Cecotto and Brian Henton. Ted sold out of Formula 1 to Benetton in 1985 after the disappointment of Monaco in 1984.

"Aside from Formula 1, Ted was an avid adventurer, winning a number of championships as an offshore powerboat racer of note. He was named as the greatest British offshore powerboat Class 1 driver of all time and held two world records.

“He undertook a cross-Atlantic sail with Virgin founder Richard Branson in an attempt to break the world record, entered the Le Mans 24 Hour with Tom Walkinshaw and did three Dakar Rallies.

Ayrton Senna drove for Toleman in his first season in F1 (pictured Monaco, 1984) (Getty Images)
Ayrton Senna drove for Toleman in his first season in F1 (pictured Monaco, 1984) (Getty Images)

"After selling the F1 team and his transport business in the UK, Toleman spent his time in multiple locations around the world, ultimately ending up between the Gold Coast in Australia and Manila in the Philippines with his wife, Maiti. Toleman has been suffering from a long-term illness and ultimately succumbed to complications from cardiorenal syndrome."

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali added: “I am saddened to hear that Ted Toleman has passed away.

“He gave so much to Formula 1 and his achievements and legacy will always be part of our history. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

Toleman is survived by his wife Maiti and son Michael.