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Senna immortalised in new movie

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Andrew Benson | 11:20 UK time, Friday, 1 April 2011

The hotly anticipated new film 'Senna', about the life and career of the Brazilian Formula 1 legend, has finally been given a UK release date - 3 June.

The movie, which I was lucky enough to see last summer, has caused quite a stir both within Formula 1 and the film world and with good reason - it's fantastic. It has already won one significant award from the jury at Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, who gave it the World Cinema Audience award for best documentary.

It's a marvellous movie and, coming as it does from Working Title, the company behind Four Weddings and a Funeral and the brilliant mountaineering film Touching The Void, that's no surprise.

Senna's story is a compelling one anyway, but what makes this film are the unearthed treasures of previously unseen footage - including revealing snapshots of his life in Brazil and behind the closed doors of the driver briefings at grands prix.

These are weaved together with more familiar images of the great Brazilian's career to create a fascinating story that grips the audience from early on and never lets go. You can get a sense of it from the trailer we have embedded in this blog.

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The fundamental story will be familiar to many - Senna's arrival in F1 with high expectations; his unnerving of the established stars with his breathtaking pace; his battle with arch-rival Alain Prost; his emergence as the dominant force within the sport through his talent and magnetic personality and charisma; his death and the shock felt around the world, not just in the sport that he had come to transcend.

But to make it work as a film, the producers had to make a decision about the narrative arc - what was their story line?

They chose the classic theme of the little guy battling against the establishment and, while it works well as a story and is true up to a certain point in Senna's career, it is also where those more familiar with Senna's story may occasionally find themselves questioning it.

Carried along as you are by the power of the film itself and of Senna's presence, you're aware that the events of his life don't fit the theme as comfortably as you might like - not from an objective point of view, anyway.

An example comes in a sequence that is one of the movie's greatest strengths - the way it deals with events surrounding the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix.

This was the first of two infamous collisions between Senna and Prost at Suzuka in consecutive years. The Frenchman turned in on Senna when the Brazilian tried to pass him at the chicane, they collided, Prost climbed out of his car, but Senna went on to win the race, only to be disqualified on dubious grounds for cutting the chicane, a decision that handed the title to Prost.

The poster for the new movie 'Senna'

Using previously unseen footage, the film shows Prost making his way to the stewards' room after the race and talking to Jean-Marie Balestre, the president of the sport's governing body, then called Fisa.

It creates a powerful reminder of how badly treated Senna was that weekend by the powers that be, so it fits nicely with the story of the film. Prost is painted as the villain, manipulating his powerful contacts to the detriment of the wronged, naïve, brilliant upstart.

But of course the reality was much more complex than that. This sequence is not preceded by any sense of how things had got to that point between Senna and Prost, no relating of Senna's aggressive driving tactics towards his rival, or his breaking of an agreement the two had made before the San Marino Grand Prix earlier that year.

It is only later in the film - by which time Senna himself has effectively become the establishment - that this darker side to his sporting personality, the slightly unhinged aspect to his character, is touched upon.

On an objective level, this undermines the film a little. But from a cinematic point of view it undoubtedly makes for a more powerful story.

This film is telling Senna's story, from Senna's point view. He is used as a narrator in death, through archive interviews, in much the same way as the hero of Touching The Void, Joe Simpson, is used in life in that film, and the end product is similarly superb.

'Senna', then, is not an unbiased movie; it's not trying to be. But it is a brilliant and beautiful one.


  • Comment number 1.

    Can't wait to see this. Manish Pandey, the movie's writer, says one of his top three moments is the overlay of Gerald Donaldson's interview about the Monaco qualifying lap when he had his surreal out-of-body experience in 1988.

  • Comment number 2.

    By the sounds of this blog, to me, his incredible talent and shear impact on the sport probably deserves the "immortalised role" you speak of... to do the great man the justice he deserves.

  • Comment number 3.

    Never a fan of his ( because my brother was !) but his talent was undeniable. That he is painted as the good guy next to Prost counters the perception of him at the time. Ruthless and prepared to cross any line to win, he was always in reality the bad guy but one you empathised with.

    For me Donnington in the wet is all you need to watch to understand his ability in the car and Japan 1990 is all you need to watch to understand his personality out of it.

    But i cant wait for the film, if its half as good as Touching the Void it will be unmissable.

  • Comment number 4.

    I was lucky enough to see the film in Austin in March. I loved it, a superb piece of filmmaking and story-telling. Fully recommend going to see it

  • Comment number 5.

    I can't wait to see it - and I've always been a Prost fan. I accept that the film is going to be biased in the Prost v Senna debate, which is a shame - but inevitable. (For the record, I'd have preferred an un-biased account, not one skewed towards Prost, in case you were wondering.)

    But I've heard loads of good things about the film, and will definitely be making a trip to the cinema for it.

  • Comment number 6.

    I was never a fan when he was alive mainly because he wasn't Nigel Mansell but after his death and as one gets older you look back and realise what a total genius he was.

    The video clip of him going wheel to wheel with Mansell in Barcelona is in my mind one of the greatest ever moments in F1.

    Can't wait to watch the film, a genius from a golden age of F1.

  • Comment number 7.

    A fine driver of that there is no doubt. But, like Shumi, he was prepared to do anything to win. Anyone who says he was the best, clearly never seen Jim Clark race. Jimmy was the drivers driver, and coming up to the anniversary of his death, no one needs reminding of his qualities. Thanks for the memories Jimmy....

  • Comment number 8.

    "'Senna', then, is not an unbiased movie; it's not trying to be."

    It's also not a new movie, as stated twice in this blog!

  • Comment number 9.

    Looking forward to seeing this - purely to relive the days when F1 was exciting and races were unpredictable.

    Don't know if I really approve of making a big story out of it. Senna's legendary status is assured, even without this.

    There were some great drivers around in Senna's era; Prost, Lauda, Schumacher, Piquet and (even though it pains me to say it, Mansell).

    The fact Senna died when he was still at the top of his sport is the thing which makes his story all them more remarkable.

  • Comment number 10.

    Good article and sounds like a great film but importantly does anyone know where they will be showing this film??????????????

  • Comment number 11.

    @10 I should imagine a lot of reputable cinemas will wish to show it, not your classic theatre cinemas. It will probably be the best release that weekend in terms of viewer satisfaction & have a decent audience share.

  • Comment number 12.

    I saw this film last year and thought it was excellent..the part about that weekend in 1994 was many on here I was glued to the TV that weekend for live coverage.
    There is a bit where Roland Ratzenberger says he was not comfortable at all with the car which made for uneasy viewing. Then young Barrichello. How he did not die in that accident still escapes me today.
    Worth seeing just for the heated driver briefing footage with Jean Marie Balestre, quite an insight

  • Comment number 13.

    Senna was a great formula 1 driver - few would ever argue about that. What fans of his overlook is his inability to sustain incredible pressure e.g. I remember seeing him and Mansell - sorry Nige, but not in the same league - going side by side - can't think which G.P. it was now, at approx. 200 m.p.h. and our Nigel out-bottled him!! Apart from this, I am old enough to go back to the 50's....... Moss/Fangio etc. One of the highlights of my life was actually seeing Jimmy Clark and Graham Hill together in the paddock at Oulton Park in the mid 60's. I had a rare pleasure in meeting Graham privately at a race car show I put together in Leeds in 1968. What a true gentleman he was!! I still remember telling him that much as I thought him to be a truly superb driver, I actually wanted the greatest driver to ever live, to open the show - Jim Clark!! I was only 18 at that time and Graham looked at me and smiled and said, " I understand totally"!! Sadly, drivers are not now born with that amount of humility!! I still have the signed poster of Graham - made out to me - I also have a signed letter from Graham to my then boss, to say he would be only too pleased to open our race car show!! When talking of "raw" talent, Moss was as good as Fangio - Fangio had the better machinery!When it comes living through many decades and watching drivers and "loving" Formula One, as I do, I have watched them all.............. believe me, there was NOBODY in the same league as Jim Clark....... don't believe me???? Just watch the 1967 Italian G.P.

  • Comment number 14.

    @8 It's not been released here before, so that makes it a new movie to us, doesn't it?

    Can't wait to see this. What an outstanding driver he was.
    For me, like a lot of people, the memory of 1994 still remains very strong, and I'm not looking forward to reliving any of that. But the rest of it... I'm ready to go and que up now!

  • Comment number 15.

    As a huge fan of Ayrton Senna I've been waiting for this film to be made and then to be released, so this is wonderful news. I love a good racing film, and this one should be better than most if the trailer is anything to go by! It will no doubt be shocking to see that footage from 94 again, it remains very fresh in my mind, and I echo DixieDeehan in thinking that I'm not in a hurry to relive it. I also think for younger F1 viewers it will be an eye-opener to see how far we've come in safety advances over the years.

  • Comment number 16.

    I was lucky enough to have seen Senna's first lap at Donington in person, as one of the few in the stands built at the craner curves, the attendance was as poor as the weather that day. My son was with me and I hope he remembers it although he was only 6.

  • Comment number 17.

    I was disappointed, the older Senna documentary is better. I expected this new doc to reveal lots of new footage but seen it all before.
    The older one is more in depth, it reveals his personal hobbies etc and talks about those epic races and the wet sessions where only Senna could handle the conditions and went out for a practice just to please the bored fans and his ability to give up a race to help a fellow crashed driver. This new doc seemed to focused more on his girlfriends and the politics of Brazil. Very much overrated.

  • Comment number 18.

    Never liked him as a driver, or cared much for him personally. I thought his tactics often questionable, if not downright unsportsmanlike. Michel Schumacher learned well from him.
    I'll give this movie a pass.

  • Comment number 19.

    Senna = The best there was, the best there is, the best there ever will be

  • Comment number 20.

    I was a bit disappointed as well to be honest. Taking nothing away from the documentary, it is still good, but not great. It just didn't seem THE complete Senna documentary as it missed some of his most memorable moments out.

  • Comment number 21.

    I saw it yesterday and I though it was great. It has some unseen behind doors footages of Senna vs Prost + Jean-Marie Balestre (FIA then president) during the 1988-89 seasons. Another few insights into his personal life in and out F1.

    It brought me back some good memories from the days I used to wait, glued to the TV, for the race to start. Ahh, those were the best Sunday mornings ever.

    Senna is a legend and will forever be remember as one. The best F1 has ever seen, and a real life hero. His larger than life charisma, deep intellect and absolute determination to be the best and overcome whatever obstacles are a lesson to us all.

    If you want something and you want bad enough, fight for it! =)

  • Comment number 22.

    This article seems biased toward Senna, I appreciate the sentiment, but I appreciate objectivity more. If the documentary has a similar bias, I will be disappointed. There is no Senna without Prost, and vice versa. To deminish either driver is to discredit one of the greatest competitions in any sport.

  • Comment number 23.

    Senna - never a fan really as i always regarded him as quite an unsporting driver. Prost turning in on Senna at the slow hairpin, under braking, at Suzuka is one thing and does not reflect well on Prost, but Senna Driving into Prost, from behind, at full speed into turn one at Suzuka the following year was the lowest of the low, especially in that era of F1 safety, and would even make Schumacher blush. And who can forget his usual tactic of waving at the stewards to have wet races stopped as soon as he got into the lead but never before. I bet they're on the editing room floor.

    That said, i love my hero's and villians in F1 and any season is more interesting with these characters than without them. I'll watch the film as anything F1 is good, and this was a classic era with some big drivers.

    I can't deny the guys talent though, one of the true great F1 drivers in terms of speed and ability.

  • Comment number 24.

    It makes me sad when I see him on film. Can't wait to see the movie but I think that I will need some tissues. Never knew him, never met him but it doesn't feel that way.

  • Comment number 25.

    Its looks amazing and the commentary from Murray Walker on the big screen must be spine tingling.

    Senna was the best there was in the Golden Age of F1.
    Ok, he did things that may have tarnished him but unlike Schumi, he didnt do it all the time, he did it here and there.

    Donnington 1993 was the race that showed his talents and it was a horrible shame that just a few months after the masterful rain in the UK, that his life came to s horrible end at Imola

    Cannot wait to see this looking forward to seeing it.

  • Comment number 26.

    Manish Pandey wrote it... didn't he play for Bangalore in the IPL.

    Looks like a great film though on a truly fantastic driver.

  • Comment number 27.

    23. At 21:31pm on 1st Apr 2011, Swerve1 wrote:
    "And who can forget his usual tactic of waving at the stewards to have wet races stopped as soon as he got into the lead but never before. I bet they're on the editing room floor."

    You'd lose your bet, because there IS a clip of one such instance in this film. There's no discussion of it, but it's there.

    Senna was certainly an unsporting character in many ways, as were Prost and Mansell. And it's perhaps only recently that we've seen the unsporting nature of the other great driver of the 80s - Nelson Piquet. They were all reflective of their era - me me me.

    Schumacher and Alonso are their more modern equivalents. I'm too young to remember Fangio or Moss, but in my opinion Jim Clark stands head and shoulders above any racing driver of later generations.

  • Comment number 28.

    Became a fan of Senna, when he drove for Toleman, and was hounding down Prost at Monaco, but Prost managed to get the race stopped (think it was the same race that Mansell blew when leading in the Lotus) Detested Prost after that, and loved Senna even more when he went to the Black & Gold

  • Comment number 29.

    I was just 5 years old when he died, but I still remember it. That scene on the TV is one of the very few things I remember from the house we lived in back then, but it's clear as day. I can't wait to see this film, however biased it may or may not be. Ayrton Senna was a man who deserved to be immortalised.

  • Comment number 30.

    This is one hell of a movie.....not from a movie's point of view or storytelling, it's as if he's been bought back to life through this movie and you're there in every chapter of it, right until the end where you see how much the world had stopped because of his sad and untimely death. Very moving and brings a new dimension to his character through all the racing incidents because that was his life. It is biased but then every story has it's antagonist and protagonist and they were all like that on the track, outside? when the gloves were off? its surreal to think they can be so bitter on the track

  • Comment number 31.

    Can't wait to see this. Like others here, at the time i was a Prost fan. The way Prost would go about setting up his car over the weekend for the race, where he wasn't too bothered if he was 1st or 4th in qualifying, as he new his race set up was good always intrigued me. His who race ethos was to race the perfect race, never going 1" out of line. He is quated as saying he nearly acheived this once. Senna on the other hand, didn't care too much on the set up, as he would drive round any set up problems. He had to have pole, he had to have the fastest lap. Looking back now, this is how it should have been done. Grap the bull by the horns and go for it.
    As for Suzuka in 1989 and 1990. Both decisions i think were handled wrongly. I think Prost clearly closed the gap, causing the locking of wheels at the chicane. Maybe this was his perogative, as he was in front. In 1990, what happened with the pole position being moved to the dirty side of the track, is basically unsporting - cheating. I fully understand when Senna says "when Balestre gave the order to swap the pole grid position, i decided to go for it, and Prost will not enter the first corner in front of me". Wreckless - yes, dangerous - yes, attitude of a angry man and born winner - most definately.
    Two of the best quotes i have ever heard to show you of Sennas tallent come from Martin Brundle and John Watson.
    The Martin Brundle one is in the movie, saying about the 1993 race at Donnington, where Senna went from 5th to 1st in less than 1 one lap, that it is Sennas whole carrer shown in 40 seconds.
    John Watson said, and i cannot remember which race it was, that Senna over took him (while either in the Toleman or Lotus) in the rain, and at that precise moment John Watson new his carrier as a racing driver was effectively over, as here was a guy, doing things in a car, that i had not even thought about, let alone put into practice. I hope this quote is in the film.
    Also, hopefully there is some showing of his driving style. Martin Brundle, when his team mate noticed something, when he was given access to Sennas telemetry. Instead of feeding in the throttle exiting corners, Senna would stab repeatedly on/off the throttle. A crude, but effective human traction control?
    Despite being the Prost fan, after all these years of watching racing, for me, Senna was head and shoulders above the others of that magical late 80's early 90s era.

  • Comment number 32.

    Can't say I'm all that excited about this film really. I've known about it for over a year now and it seems the BBC (and most of the commenters here) are just catching up as per usual...

    I also refuse to pay for the "cinema experience" for a documentary, I shall wait until a DVD/Blu Ray release is made and purchase it to watch in the comfort of my own home. Besides I doubt very much that this film will be a widespread release in the mainstream cinema chains here in North Essex like Cineworld or Odeon.

    As for the Prost/Senna debate that everyone is commenting on, well they were both racing drivers, they both wanted to win, and they were both as bad as each other, to say Senna was "the bad guy" is simply rubbish.

  • Comment number 33.

    The thing I dislike most about F1 today is that there are too many nice guys.
    Can you imagine Senna or Mansell being asked on the radio to move over and let
    their team-mate take the lead? Today's drivers may be quick and talented but they don't have half the flair or charisma that their predecessors had.
    God bless the 'gang of four'.

  • Comment number 34.

    Today's drivers are so hopeless at overtaking and going wheel-to-wheel
    it makes you appreciate even more the talent that was around
    in Senna's day.

  • Comment number 35.

    Best driver that ever lived? I doubt it. He also was just as good as one Michael Schumacher at taking unnecessary risks and taking others off - Prost for example. The best driver would win by sheer driving ability not being an a-hole

  • Comment number 36.

    I am seriously looking forward to this and seriously hoping to find a cinema. This era, had drivers from the first GP's I remember, from the mid-80's. If anyone knows a cinema that's definately putting this on, I'd like to know. Yes, it'll be emotional. I wasn't far of my teens in 94. I was at Donington. OK, Mansell was my favourite. I didn't like some of the tactics of Senna, or Prost, at times.

    Though, genius, or flawed genius, Senna's natural talent was up there. For those who say Clark was more talented etc. fine, OK. They, in my view, for what it's worth, are the two greatest natural talents in GP racing, in the last 50 years.

    I know at the time, I didn't look at things objectively, so it'll be interesting to look at this from Senna's side...

    Really looking forward to this film. I'm not the greatest film fan, it's the subject of the film. Thanks for this Andrew. Much appreciated.

  • Comment number 37.

    If you want to see this at your local cinema, get telling them NOW!! I asked at my three local cinemas and only Odeon and Cineworld are contemplating it currently. They have to be sure they'll get enough paying customers so the more people ask about it the better. My work brings me into contact with most of the big chains, so I was able to get a heads-up on this. If no-one asks to see it, it's likely that only a handful of cinemas will show it as June/July is busy with summer blockbusters etc. There's gotta be enough of us wanting to see this for it to be shown nationwide, surely!!

  • Comment number 38.

    The movie may not be unbiased, Andrew, but if it brings Suzuka 1999 (when Prost drove into Senna to deprive him of the Championship - which also had echoes of Monaco 1984) upfront and into focus, then it's a bias I will put up with. It puts the events of Suzuka 2000 (when Senna drove into Prost, depriving him of the Championship) into clearer context.

  • Comment number 39.

    "are weaved"? Whatever happened to "are woven", Andrew?

  • Comment number 40.

    I will be going to see it. It will be interesting to see how near the truth it is. Hopefully it will be, and not trying to make him appear like some god. He was a fantastic driver, but a flawed genius.He was however an out and out racer, and he always knew what he wanted and demanded the utmost from you. He was never the most hospitable of drivers, appearing to be very intense most of the time. At the circuit he only focussed on racing. He was not as smooth a driver as Prost, but without doubt much quicker. But then I would say that as I was one of his mechanics, on his race car for six years at Mclaren, so I would know.

  • Comment number 41.

    I've seen it and thought it was good. It's not supposed to be an in-depth documentary or a review of his race wins, it just tells the story of the most important parts and weaves it together with a few story lines, mainly Senna v Prost, Senna v Balestre and Senna and his belief in God. The footage used is great and the way it is all edited together works really well. I saw the version with the talking heads interviews in which is 2h 42m long and is probably better for the more serious racing fans that want a more analytical approach. The 1 h 44m version without interviews is perfectly adequate for anyone else and the general public. I was/am a massive Senna fan but I didn't think it was the best sports documentary I've ever seen, but it is still good, 8/10.

  • Comment number 42.

    The problem with Senna is a lot of people see him through rose tinted glasses.
    He was a brilliant driver, but was overly ruthless in his desire to win everything - this reach a point where he shoved Prost off the track dangerously in a Mercedes charity race; it also showed in his F1 driving to the point that he would deliberately cause a dangerous situation to try and win and always believed he was right.

  • Comment number 43.

    "Two of the best quotes i have ever heard to show you of Sennas tallent come from Martin Brundle and John Watson.
    The Martin Brundle one is in the movie, saying about the 1993 race at Donnington, where Senna went from 5th to 1st in less than 1 one lap, that it is Sennas whole carrer shown in 40 seconds.
    John Watson said, and i cannot remember which race it was, that Senna over took him (while either in the Toleman or Lotus) in the rain, and at that precise moment John Watson new his carrier as a racing driver was effectively over, as here was a guy, doing things in a car, that i had not even thought about, let alone put into practice. I hope this quote is in the film."

    Sorry to disappoint, they're not.

  • Comment number 44.

    Is it a movie or a film - please be consistent. Preferably film....

  • Comment number 45.

    This film stands proud and the top of the IMDB's Top 250 documentary films.

  • Comment number 46.

    Agree with others who says that Jimmy Clark was clearly the greatest driver ever. He looked very similar to Senna. A documentary on J Clark, of the same ilk, just wouldn't work, as his life was based around privacy and sportsmanship. Senna was overly ruthless, and that has to detract from his legacy. His very public death has led some to immortalize him in a rather exuberant fashion. World class he was, but faultless he wasn't.

    Senna is still a legend, but that dark side was very much part of it, and not just an after thought. My main memory of him was watching on board of a flying lap around Monte Carlo. He was clearly a different level inside that car, to the other drivers. I was a big Mansell fan, so I never shouted for him, but he was total class. Today, a wet race is exciting. Not in the 80's. It was a guaranteed win for Senna, if his car could hold out.

    I remember one rare mistake he did at Monaco, going into the armco before the tunnel, while leading comfortably. He got out of the car, and walked the 2 minutes to his home, and didn't even watch the rest of the race on TV, but put a film on, and made a cup of tea. How cool is that!!!!!!

    The other thing was he drove for Toleman. IMO, drivers need to start at the back and learn their craft from the rough end, fighting it out with the back markers. Making a poor car grab points it does not deserve has always been the mark of a gifted driver.

  • Comment number 47.

    Senna is a legend. I cant wait to see this the program. The killer years was great true men which had ball of steel, Jim Clake, G Hill i could name them all pure genius's

  • Comment number 48.

    Interesting that comments from older life-long racing enthusiasts (yeah, me too, 57) are not so gushing about Senna. It´s not like we were old at the time (early 30s), but maybe saw more clearly how the man made his own myth (out of body driving at Monaco, for example, is not even a little bit possible). Now all you get is myth. So now, the movie......

    Senna was very fast, that´s certainly true and to enthuse about his talent is very fair. In reality it was at least as much a practised/developed talent as it was raw and natural. His family´s wealth (and his personal discipline, again fair enough) allowed him to develop his rain skills in karts in Sao Paolo, then to transfer to top level junior formula teams in the UK . When he went to McLaren, it seems pretty clear that Senna learned a great deal from Prost and in return spent 2 years trying to destabalize Prost´s relationship with the team. Never really an underdog.

    In F3 in the UK Brundle ran him close, but is seldom mentioned in the same breath. The Toleman and Lotus years yielded promise more than massive results. Kubica would be a modern analogy. It is often remarked that Bellof was catching both Prost and Senna on the wet day of the Toleman Monaco drive. Donington was brilliant, the first win at Estoril ditto. Crashing at the entrance to tunnel in Monaco was not, nor was the way that Senna handled it (your idea is quite wrong, poster 46, Senna locked himself in his flat and cried. His friend, Jo Ramirez has often told the story).

    What bothered me then and now with Senna was his obsessive belief that he held rights which no-one has, especially in a dangerous sport. He was not a team player, playing Honda against McLaren, refusing to have fast second drivers (Herbert) when he was no 1 at Lotus but not yet established. More than anything, crashing into Prost at Japan in 1990 was the single worst thing I´ve seen in F1. Nor did he come clean until one year later that it was deliberate. When the truth was told, Senna told it like he had some divine right to do what he had done, to avenge himself on those who had plotted against him.

    So sorry, I mourned Clark, Rindt, Siffert and Rodriguez for their perceived human qualities, whereas over a long career, Senna didn´t win my respect outside the car.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Was senna that good? He took risks and cheated in ways that would endanger others and himself and ultimately was lucky to only kill himself.

    i hope this film is factual and not rose tinted

  • Comment number 51.

    Am taking my 9 year old son to see this, even though I know I will be in tears at the end, as I was on 1 May 1994.
    A theme running through these posts is whether Senna was the greatest driver of all time. Very difficult to compare across eras, but most people who know put Senna among 3, which includes Clark and Fangio.
    I am biased, but Senna raced in a much more competitive era than the other 2 and beat Prost (himself an all-time great) in equal equipment. The much-lauded run down the main straight with Mansell at Barelona was at a time when the Williams was donimant - no wonder Mansell passed him!
    What I hope this film gives people too young to remember is a flavour of Formula One at that time - brutal cars, great drivers and a star who outshone everything else. How many times did fans talk on a Monday after a race - "did you see Senna at the weekend"?
    Like the well-made piece on Top Gear last summer showed, if you ask today's GP drivers who was the best driver of all time, they only give one answer.

  • Comment number 52.

    I saw 'Senna' last week and it was incredible. Finally a film that beautifully encapsulates the brilliance of Senna.

  • Comment number 53.

    @40 : Really Diamondproject? I would love to hear more about Senna from you, someone whose had direct exposure to the man I consider to be one the most inspiring, probably the most inspiring sportsman ever!

  • Comment number 54.

    In the end whatever people may think of Ayrton Senna he is a very interesting sports personality and it will be a pleasure to see him from a new perspective. His successes and failures aside, his infinitely committed, relentless, passionate, fatalistic character alone is enough to make a film about. look forward to it.

  • Comment number 55.

    I remember Ayrton Senna well. He took on the F1 world with aggression & technique. He showed many drivers what an F1 car can do, irrespective of the technology underneath him. But maybe it was his aggression that was his undoing?

    He taught many of his compatriots that F1 is a sport for heroes. Sadly heroes die young, as he did. I remember clearly his aggression in the car on the track, enabling him to challange Prost, Schumacher & Mansell. I remember him wining in Belgium & Monaco. Fantastic! It is my belief that if Senna's aggression was tamed, the likes of Vettel & Hamilton would be half the men they are today.

    F1 is a sport for aggressive men who will unwittingly put their lives at stake for a moment of glory. Though this isn't a recipe for long life, it is a recipe of heroism & history.

  • Comment number 56.

    Can't wait for this to be released. A true epic and must see of all fans. I really hope someday they make a similar movie about Gilles Villeneuve, another poetic story celebrating the shire brilliance of the man, like Senna's no doubt. Just as tragic, but a must see all the same.

  • Comment number 57.

    #48 - Absolutely spot on, smilingspongemuffin (cracking name, BTW!).

    Senna was always an accident looking for somewhere to happen. This misguided worship of his "aggression" mostly comes from those too young to know what it was like to watch talented young men die week in, week out in burning & crumpled F1 cars, in accidents caused by the tiniest slips in concentration or simple mistakes. Had the drivers of previous eras driven like Senna, then the sport would have been an even bigger bloodbath than it already was. The point being that if Senna had raced 10 years or more previously, then many of the accidents HE caused would have resulted in the deaths of himself, other drivers and quite probably a number of spectators. His aggression was out of control, relying solely on the safety measures of the cars & tracks to prevent inevitable injury. As a result, he barely merits the title "sportsman", and wouldn't make it into my top 10 of all-time F1 drivers (behind Rosemeyer, Nuvolari, Varzi, Fangio, Moss, the peerless Clark, Stewart, Lauda, Piquet, Prost, Villeneuve) - all men who could ally talent, speed, CONTOLLED aggression & DISCIPLINE (the bits in capitals being the essential qualities lacking in Senna).

    Unfortunately, many people will see the movie and believe the lies and distorted storytelling.

    Senna - a legend in his own lifetime? Don't make me laugh - he's not even a legend in my lunchtime!


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