2011 has been a great year for petrol heads in filming industry. Well I guessed many think Fast and Furious 5 is the best car movie of the year (although the logic of seeing two muscle cars pulling a vault from a bank makes me think Einstein may have died of rabies before he discovered E=MC2 in that world), some say “Drive” from Ryan Gossling is even better. For the very few and those who follows Formula One way before the Michael Schumacher years, I think you must have heard of this documentary, Senna. A tale of an Brazilian Formula driver who was believed to be the greatest race driver ever born. It is a movie which no petrol head should miss.
A Brilliant Documentary that won rave reviews
The documentary tells the story of rise and fame of a Formula One’s legend and greatest driver ever, Ayrton Senna, who was a former 3 times F1 champion. A tale of zero to hero, where Senna started racing in Formula in 1984 in a inferior car but shocked everyone on a rain hit Monaco GP and finished second place from behind. After his three years with Team Lotus, he was signed with McLaren to partner with another F1 great, Alain Prost, where the duo won almost all racers in 1988. But dominations aside, a fierce rivalry developed between them which turned ugly in the later years. The Brazilian then took 3 world championship drivers title in 1988, 1990 and 1991 with McLaren. He signed with the dominant Williams in 1994 when tragically on the third race of the 1994 season, he lost his life after crashing violently in Imola, Italy at the age of 34 during the peak of his career.
Through his decade in F1, many think he is one true talent in motor racing history. His blazing fast time in qualifying and ruthless style during the races earned his reputation. Mind you that, that was the era where F1 are like go karts with 1000HP engines and manual gearboxes is something we won’t see in modern F1. Another interesting note that he has a special relationship with Honda (Honda was the engine supplier during Senna tenure in Lotus and McLaren) and did involved in the development of the Honda NSX sports car.
If you think Schumacher is the Rain Master, wait till you see Senna
Despite his aggressiveness towards his rivals, he is one of the rare sports man who has strong religious believe in Christianity and compassion towards his countryman in Brazil. He has secretly donated many of his earnings to the improvised children of Brazil, providing symbol of hope and inspiration in the country where the millions of poor were at an disadvantage and needed a ray of light apart from Jesus Christ to give hope from their misery. Some of his quotes were notable as well like “The harder I push, the more I find within myself. I am always looking for the next step, a different world to go into, areas where I have not been before. It’s lonely driving a Grand Prix car, but very absorbing. I have experienced new sensations, and I want more. That is my excitement, my motivation”
After his demise, millions of Brazilians cried like they’ve lost their only hope, and the Brazilian government declared three days of national mourning. His death was a huge lost in motor racing but this paved way to safer and improved F1 cars that saved many F1 driver’s life in the years to come.
A true legend,perhaps the greatest racing driver ever lived
Ask any regular Joes and they think Michael Schumacher is the greatest F1 driver ever lived if you take into consideration the number of titles we won. The current generation of F1 fans may think Lewis Hamilton is the greatest F1 driver for now despite his mediocre season in 2011. But if you ask many F1 fans and even the F1 drivers themselves, agreed that Ayrton Senna is the greatest Formula Driver ever. For those who watched Top Gear UK will remember how Jeremy Clarkson did a well done tribute on Senna in which it is still one of the best segments ever shown in Top Gear. Wait till you see this and even with the score of 92% in Rotten Tomatoes and won Best Documentary in Sundance Film Festival, it is unknown why it is snubbed in the Academy Awards.
I won’t blame you if you haven’t watch this as the availability is pretty limited in Malaysia and it is shown mainly in Europe and United States. Strangely I’m unable to find either the original or the “ahem” copies of the DVD in Malaysia as well. But even if you’re not really a petrol head nor watch any F1 race, you will discover it is astonishing to embrace a tale of how one man electrify a sports where speed and politics come to play and became a true icon in what he is best at, driving a Formula One car at his peak level no man has gone before. The trailer of the movie is below and I’ve just watched it recently. Trust me, if this does not make you respect this man, I don’t know what else will. It is a brilliant documentary and without doubt I highly recommend this one.
Here is also the Top Gear segment on Senna tributes. It is still one of the best segments ever made.