On Tuesday Liz and myself went to the Cinema to see the eagerly anticipated movie ‘Senna’. It wasn’t the nearest cinema as that wasn’t showing it, but it was the next nearest cinema and having seen that it was only showing the film on Tuesday we made sure the tickets were booked in advance.
Having Plumped for the 6.30 screening and arriving in plenty of time, the foyer was packed but I still bumped into my friend Alex, his wife and friend. Alex is the Britcar reporter and photographer for Racing Exposure so I know him quite well. It was good to catch up with him as I missed the Thruxton round of the Britcar championship and he had missed the Donnington round before that so it had been a while. The queue for the film was really long and zig zagged along the corridor, through the foyer and outside. People must have thought we were show offs as we stood talking out my trip to Le Mans and Alex’s trip to the Monaco Grand Prix.
I won’t go into detail about the film but it was great to see the footage that was in it. I was born in 1982 so don’t remember Senna’s early career. However I do remember bits from the late eighties onwards as I was a big fan of Formula One as a child. The film opened my eyes somewhat to the politics and the behind the scenes goings on in the sport. Something as a child you are unaware of. It pieced together the patchy memories I had as a childhood fan too. I actually remember the Martin Donnelly crash but always thought it was at Monza when in fact it was at Jerez. The image of him in curled up in a ball in the middle of the circuit upset me and even now it is still a haunting image.
Although the film didn’t chart Senna’s career in great detail it told the story well. There were some light hearted moments and some very serious issues raised. Some of the driver briefing footage was very good and will no doubt raise many an eyebrow. The eagle eyed will spot a very young looking Eddie Jordan too! Although everyone knows how the story ends it is still no less upsetting. I’m sure Liz was not the only one in tears. That fateful race weekend at Imola will have no doubt permanently etched itself into the memories of any motorsport fan who remembers it but it was tastefully portrayed by the director.
I have often wondered had Senna not been killed in that accident, how long would he have stayed in Formula One. Would he have won anymore championship titles and how would he have coped with Michael Schumacher who was establishing himself as one of the front runners in the sport. It is without doubt that Ayrton Senna was a hugely talented racing driver, but would he be idolised as much as he is if he was still alive today? Death makes people reflect on life and there was so much the Brazilian had achieved for so many to reflect on. One thing is for sure, after seeing the film I have a lot more respect for this truly gifted racing driver. The world legend is spread about far too often these days, but Ayrton Senna really was a Legend.
The film is a must see for any motorsport fan young or old so if you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, then it is definitely worth going. Only the front row of the cinema was empty and the queue was huge for the screening after so I would advise booking tickets in advance. It was a truly compelling and fascinating documentary and I cannot talk highly enough about it. I loved it and I am sure any motorsport fan will too.