THIS FRIDAY, SENNA a new documentary on the eponymous F1 great hits movie theatres.
Reviews for the film – directed by Asif Kapadia – have been glowing.
Who was Senna?
Indisputably one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time, Ayrton Senna won the Formula One World Championship on three occasions. His life was tragically cut short at the age of 34 when he was killed in a crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Why is he in the news?
A critically-acclaimed documentary focusing on Senna’s turbulent life will be released this week in Irish cinemas.
Why bother making a documentary about his life?
Senna mixed incredible success in Formula One racing, with an interesting and, at times, controversial approach to the sport and life in general. Many commentators argue that drivers such as Michael Schumacher would have been nowhere near as successful if Senna had not died at such a young age.
While Senna was clearly a consummate driver, he was not always popular amongst fellow pros, who criticised his driving style for being too dangerous and putting his opponents, in addition to himself, under threat.
Ultimately though, Senna proved an incredibly popular performer, whose extraordinary feats and colourful personality did much to raise the profile of Formula One. He was idolised in his native Brazil and has been referred to as an inspiration by many current F1 drivers, including Lewis Hamilton.
Who was Senna’s main rival?
Alain Prost had a longstanding rivalry with the Brazilian. Senna’s reputation for dangerous driving partially arose as a result of his collisions with Prost, two years in-a-row, during the 1989 and 1990 Japanese Grand Prix – crashes that both had a significant influence on the outcome of the Championship.
And even when Senna was starting off as a driver, the two became embroiled in controversy. The 1984 Monaco Grand Prix was stopped to ensure that Prost – a French driver competing at a French venue – would not lose to Senna, who was largely unkown at the time.
His death and legacy
Senna died hours after he was airlifted out of the San Marinio Grand Prix following his crash. He had reportedly been determined to increase the safety of Formula One, following incidents in which fellow Brazilian and friend Rubens Barrichelo was injured and another driver Roland Ratzenburger was killed.
Senna was fiercely patriotic and a national hero in Brazil, frequently flying the Brazilian flag to celebrate racing victories. His death caused mass sadness in Brazil and three days of national mourning were held in honour of Senna.
Formula One driver Alan Henry listed him as the third greatest driver of all time and Bernie Ecclestone, in an interview in the Independent to mark the10-year anniversary of his death, said: “”And he will keep his fans forever, not just as a driver but because of his qualities as a person.”
Now watch the trailer:
Senna opens in selected Irish cinemas on 3 June.