Last week I went to see Senna with my father. Senna is of course about Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian racing driver who was the last fatality in Formula One. Dad is a big fan of motor racing, the kind of person who’ll set his alarm for three o’clock in the morning just so he can watch a Grand Prix race live, so obviously as soon as he heard about this movie he was dying to see it. I can’t even drive, never mind know anything about racing, but in fact the documentary is brilliant and one doesn’t need any racing knowledge to appreciate it.
Senna traces Ayrton Senna’s career which started off with karting, progressing onto single seater racing, then Formula 3 and finally Formula 1. He won three Formula One world championships and is considered by many to be one of the greatest racing drivers who ever lived. The movie explores Senna’s competitive attitude, his complete immersion in the sport, his famous rivalry with Alain Prost, his devout religious beliefs and his charity work with the impoverished people of his homeland. He comes across as a likeable man; humble, deeply spiritual and very intelligent. I also had no idea how handsome he was and spent a large portion of the movie drooling over his tanned Brazilian good looks!
Senna died in an accident on 1st May 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix at the age of thirty four. After months of investigation it was deemed that the cause of the accident was steering column failure. He died the day after Roland Ratzenberger, an Austrian Formula One driver who had an accident on the same track during the qualifying race. It was an horrific weekend in motor sport. As a result of these two deaths, safety measures were increased and there have been no driver fatalities in Formula One since then.
The movie is playing in theatres at the moment and I highly recommend it.