Wednesday, 8 June 2011


I tried my hardest but the end result was never in doubt, I cried....
There, I said it. yes, I, cried.

'SENNA' is the work of genius and sitting through the docu-film for over an hour and a half was to re-visit why I fell in love with Formula 1 and motor racing in the first place. It was a wonderful visualisation of a man with a talent not of this world and it is unquestionably a brilliant collage of imagery that beautifully encapsulates all that was Ayrton Senna.

In capturing the main points behind the Brazilian's 10 year grand prix career, the viewer is subjected to footage of artistry in its purest form. Pictures of Ayrton making his Lotus Renault literally dance as he feathered the throttle around the Australian streets of Adelaide in 1985, or those on-board, mesmerising clips of Monaco in 1988 and 1989 as we ride with the McLaren Honda between the tight confines of the principality, all contribute to providing a glimpse into the passion with which Brazil's favourite son drove.

He was an emotional driver in extreemis, and while his blatant denial of wrong doing in the aftermath of the infamous Suzuka collision with Prost in 1990, was almost laughable yet the passion in his voice at the injustice he perceived had been directed at him the previous year, almost made you side with him...

I thought the coverage of that weekend in hell back in 1994 was wonderfully handled and while sad, it was warming to see previously unseen footage of those three days at Imola which ended in such tragedy.
Roland Ratzenburger's crash footage was preceded by a short clip of the man himself in discussion with a member of his Simtek team moments before his fatal run. Explaining that he was trying to stop over driving the car and needed to calm down was harrowing in the extreme when the following few minutes delivered the crash, the terrible scenes after the impact and Senna's clear distress at the fate of his fellow driver.

Since Sunday May 1st, I have always been convinced that Senna was not mentally ready to race that fateful day and upon observing the pre-race images of the triple world champion sat in the cockpit of his Williams Renault FW16, frowning, shaking his head and sighing, I realised that he was in no fit state to race. We had known he was unhappy with the handling of the car until his death and that even during the weekend of Imola he is seen discussing these issues with the car's designer Adrian Newey and race Engineer David Brown. "The car is just unstable in every way" Ayrton is heard saying repeatedly and when you combine such factors with the anguish he was still obviously feeling at the demise of Ratzenburger the previous day, it makes those images of Senna in his final few moments all the more poignant.

The subsequent funeral was mammoth and the footage screened before me brought tears to the eyes and failed to dissipate until I had left the auditorium.

In the final minute of the film, Ayrton is asked who was the driver he most feared and admired throughout his entire career: "Terry Fullerton," is the immediate response.

Don't know who he is? Look him up and you'll see why he was held in such high regard by Senna. 
The fact that Fullerton is not mentioned in the film is the only gripe I have with the movie. Showing Ayrton Senna in every light was not an easy task though personally, I feel that had his early career in karting been given more allocation, a greater picture would have emerged of why Ayrton Senna became the driver he was - and an idol to millions...

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