I’ve never written about a film before or my former interest in Formula 1 motorsport. So I’m breaking the silence with this post I suppose.
I sat and watched Senna the film last night, it focused on his time in Formula 1 or should I say his short time in F1 when he was tragically killed on 1 May 1994. That day is etched in my memory more so than any other race I suppose.
I thought the film was very good, and it’s a must watch for any F1 fan, past and present. It sets the scene as to how F1 got to where it is today in a lot of ways: safety, politics, money and the sport in general.
It is quite clear from the film that Senna shouldn’t have been in the car that day, although he was on pole, he was in a car that was that had very unstable handling. This was the first season without all the electronic aids that the previous years car had had (traction control, suspension, gearbox, differential etc) The Williams FW16 looked quite a handful to drive, even with the skill of Senna behind the wheel. The previous day their had been the death of Roland Ratzenberger in qualifying, his death was the first in F1 for over 12 years. This had quite an impact on his mental state.
When you look at film, there are a few things that were obvious that were not right, the safety car which had only been introduced the previous year was just an Opel Ascona/Vauxhall Cavalier which was far too slow to be leading a pack of F1 cars. An accident occurred at the start of the race and the safety car came our straight away for five laps and his crash occurred on lap 7.
A lot of theories have been given as to the causes of the crash and I suspect we will never know the true cause although a lot of plausible reasons have been given.
I no longer devote any time to watching or following F1, I got tired of them constantly changing the rules and the designers bending the rules but not having any points deducted from their totals. I don’t believe it’s possible to compare the performance of one driver against another in quite the same way as they used to be. The drivers speak in ‘sound-bites’, with so much money involved everything is so scripted. The restrictions on technology development in my opinion no longer make it the pinnacle of motor-sport. Senna and Prost didn’t need ‘drag reduction systems, and KERS to pass each other.
See the film and you might see what we are missing in F1 today.