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Senna

I'm just musing a bit at the mo on the eve of what would have been his 53rd birthday.

I'm just about old enough to remember him and the impact he made. Obviously he's at legendary status and for good reason.

The thing that gets me is what would today's social media have made of him while he was alive? Everyone on any forum has their allegiances, the BBC comments are just a slagging contest for instance.

What would have the reactions been to the Prost incidents? The great races? The bad ones?

Do you think he would have been as well loved if everyone (usually the loudest) had the chance to voice their opinion publicly?

I'm thinking right now it's a different arena to compete for that sort of status and how good would you have to be for a close to unanimous vote for one of the best ever?

We've got two or three great drivers right now in my opinion. Time will tell
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I know that this will brand me as a heretic, but I never had much time for Senna. I don't argue that he was a brilliant driver, probably, technically, one of the best , but from what I have read he struck me back in the day and now as a flawed character who had too high an opinion of his own importance to be healthy.

That said, a lot of his contemporaries seemed to like him.....

Somehow, if he was racing today, I do not think that his impact would be as great, given the rule changes that have been brought in since '84 would have fettered him to some degree.

Still, great drivers were great in their era, but it always fun, if slightly, futile to do the "was Senna better than Fangio, Moss, von Brautisch, Clark, Moss, Villeneuve (G), Schumacher......" thing.

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Last edited by Tirreni; 24-03-13 at 18:36.
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I know that this will brand me as a heretic, but I never had much time for Senna. I don't argue that he was a brilliant driver, probably, technically, one of the best , but from what I have read he struck me back in the day and now as a flawed character who had too high an opinion of his own importance to be healthy.

That said, a lot of his contemporaries seemed to like him.....

Somehow, if he was racing today, I do not think that his impact would be as great, given the rule changes that have been brought in since '84 would have fettered him to some degree.

Still, great drivers were great in their era, but it always fun, if slightly, futile to do the "was Senna better than Fangio, Moss, von Brautisch, Clark, Moss, Villeneuve (G), Schumacher......" thing.
I agree.

I was never a huge fan of Senna and have been told that I couldn't have been a real enthusiast because of it (I tell them my F1 hero is Keke Rosberg, because it is, and they say "Who?" Who's the real fan now?)

I also think he is more revered in death than when he was alive.

If Imola hadn't happened I believe he would have polarised opinion as much as Schumacher and Vettel do now.

The Senna film was good, but made him out to be almost a saint and was very anti-Prost, and I )those times and it wasn't all down to Alain, ironically he is one of the trustees of the Senna foundation.
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Richard H and Terreni,

Two very considered replies with which I concur.

There is a lot of Senna adulation now, he is almost beatified, but I remember those battles and he wasn't half one self-important, self-centred, ruthless, selfish driver. I know all the greats share self-confidence and self-motivation in common, without those qualities you will not succeed but I watched Senna take those qualities to the extreme; to an uncomfortable extreme.

He brought a new type of ruthless win-at-all-costs driving to the sport. As an atheist I always found his belief that God was helping him irritating at best and when he was certain that his God was looking after him he often knowingly put others' lives in danger which I found unforgivable. Witness Suzuka 1990 when he admitted the following year it had been a deliberate crash, flat-out.

I have great respect for him as a wheel man - his records speak for themselves - but beyond that I found him hard to take.
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Respected him greatly but never a fan of Senna, partly because he did not drive for Ferrari :ferrari:

Probably one of the most gifted drivers ever, Jim Clark level, but flawed as well (after all, who isn't?). Were he alive today, he would be in the Schumacher league (lots of fanboys and lots of haters). Nothing more, nothing less.
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Senna will always be the greatest driver of all time. If you look at all the polls that are done on who is the greatest of all time Senna will always come up No 1.

Statistically there are others better Shumacher and even Prost is better statistically. But what would you rather own a Ferrari F458 or a clinical Mclaren F1 /Audi R8. The Ferrari is exciting and sensational where as the Audi is clinical.

Thats what Senna was sensational and not clinical like the "professor" Prost.

You could compare Hamilton today to Senna, but Senna was better and hardly made a mistake like Hamilton does often.

He was immensely gifted possessing "God" like powers to win and conversely he was ruthless and settled for nothing but being number 1.

The incident with Vettel overtaking Webber last week would be something Senna would do also. But in Sennas day everyone moved aside to let Senna through. And NO TEAM MATE WOULD EVER CHALLENGE SENNA ON ANY LEVEL like Webber did with Vettel. Senna was the King of F1 in his time and NO ONE Challenged him ,drivers stewarts or anyone. But of course that was a different era.

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But in Sennas day everyone moved aside to let Senna through. And NO TEAM MATE WOULD EVER CHALLENGE SENNA ON ANY LEVEL like Webber did with Vettel. Senna was the King of F1 in his time and NO ONE Challenged him ,drivers stewarts or anyone. But of course that was a different era.
Except for Eddie Irvine in, I think, his 1st GP in Japan. EI had the temerity to un-lap himself when Senna was cruising towards the end of the race. (But then after the race Senna did thump him!)
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Except for Eddie Irvine in, I think, his 1st GP in Japan. EI had the temerity to un-lap himself when Senna was cruising towards the end of the race. (But then after the race Senna did thump him!)
Thats right Irvine got Thumped - We need a bit more of that in F1 nowadays !
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Thats right Irvine got Thumped - We need a bit more of that in F1 nowadays !
Remember Nelson Piquet (the elder) and some other chap going at it hammer and tongs in the Italian GP back in 80's?
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Remember Nelson Piquet (the elder) and some other chap going at it hammer and tongs in the Italian GP back in 80's?
It was Elisio Salazar
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Senna will always be the greatest driver of all time. If you look at all the polls that are done on who is the greatest of all time Senna will always come up No 1.

Statistically there are others better Shumacher and even Prost is better statistically. But what would you rather own a Ferrari F458 or a clinical Mclaren F1 /Audi R8. The Ferrari is exciting and sensational where as the Audi is clinical.

Thats what Senna was sensational and not clinical like the "professor" Prost.

You could compare Hamilton today to Senna, but Senna was better and hardly made a mistake like Hamilton does often.

He was immensely gifted possessing "God" like powers to win and conversely he was ruthless and settled for nothing but being number 1.

The incident with Vettel overtaking Webber last week would be something Senna would do also. But in Sennas day everyone moved aside to let Senna through. And NO TEAM MATE WOULD EVER CHALLENGE SENNA ON ANY LEVEL like Webber did with Vettel. Senna was the King of F1 in his time and NO ONE Challenged him ,drivers stewarts or anyone. But of course that was a different era.
Prost challenged all the time, and Senna didn't like it.

He made many mistakes, especially when he drove for Lotus, often breaking the front wing on other cars

He was gifted, but no God, but thought it was his God gven right to be let through. Which is a very dangerous trait in a racing driver
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Prost challenged all the time, and Senna didn't like it.

He made many mistakes, especially when he drove for Lotus, often breaking the front wing on other cars

He was gifted, but no God, but thought it was his God gven right to be let through. Which is a very dangerous trait in a racing driver
Yes apart from Prost - I mean "lesser" no 2 drivers
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Remember Nelson Piquet (the elder) and some other chap going at it hammer and tongs in the Italian GP back in 80's?
Can just imgine Webber Thumping Vettel at last weeks GP
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Can just imgine Webber Thumping Vettel at last weeks GP
Well, there's another 17 races to go - we can hope!
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Mansell did thump Senna once
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IWhen was thta? Mansell and Senna did suareup in Belgium, 1986 but I believe no punches thrown.

Never really liked Senna . 'Dirty' racer IMHO. Watched all his F1 races including the death one.
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I thought Mansell did manage to land a couple of hits, my bad.
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I dont recall Mansell ever thumping Senna ?
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I dont recall Mansell ever thumping Senna ?
Neither do I, he wanted to smack Piquet, but there was a queue........
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BTW Folks......

Just to let you all know, the excellent Documentary called " Senna " is on ITV at 10:20pm on Sunday night ( 13:0ct ) set your PVR's, methinks........
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Remember Nelson Piquet (the elder) and some other chap going at it hammer and tongs in the Italian GP back in 80's?
I thought it was at the German GP rather than the Italian GP, but you'd never find this going on now...all the drivers are too corporate and politically correct to want to have a dust up at the track side. There are too many sponsors involved that would be upset over what they'd turn as uncouth behaviour and would rather pull out than actually support 'their' team!

Anyway, back to Senna the racer? He was a great driver...he achieved a lot in a relatively short time. Remember, he had a Toleman in 1984 and almost won the Monaco GP. 3 seasons in a Lotus, winning 6 races that really shouldn't have gone his way before going to McLaren and winning 3 titles. Even in his final season, he had 3 poles albeit no points, so to drag a car that was pretty unpredictable initially to pole position is indicative of some level of skill.

Senna as a person? I'll admit I didn't really like him as a person till he was in his final seasons. He was fully capable of dirty tricks and political wrangling but you'd put this down to his wish to be number one outright. If you didn't have the drive to do this, you might be a good racing driver but never a great one and even the cleanest drivers are all capable of something a little rotten now and then. Perhaps it was more that he seemed to beat Mansell a lot and he was my favourite driver at the time...there's always a prejudice when a favourite driver is involved!

So it would be Spa 1987 (Mansell and Senna come to blows | On this day | ESPN.co.uk) where Mansell sought out Senna. By all reports, no fisticuffs were exchanged, but Mansell did get Senna by the neck...Eddie Irvine likes to talk down the incident in 1993 where Senna also cuffed him and caused him to fall off the chair and Senna's on-track clashes were pretty vivid - Portugal 1988 against Prost, Japan 1989 against Prost and the hat-trick against Prost in Japan 1990, two of which could have resulted in injury, the second (1989) which was a hamfisted attempt by Prost to stop Senna.

If it's Senna the movie, then it's a good watch. The one that started all of the motor racing movies in this generation, following loads of failed attempts. Senna, 1, and Rush are all good windows into the past. I was lucky enough to be on set for Rush so got to see the cars up close and, whilst it's not always evident, the attention to detail and historical accuracy was foremost for this movie.
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Quote:
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I I don't argue that he was a brilliant driver, probably, technically, one of the best , but from what I have read he struck me back in the day and now as a flawed character who had too high an opinion of his own importance to be healthy.
I'm a huge Senna fan.......always have been. When i first started watching F1 -on a tiny CRT tv with washed out colours- he already had god like status/myth around him. I asked my father: who's that guy that seems to be lapping everyone all the time? My father answered: That's Ayrton Senna, a Brazilian pilot. He's fearless, has perfect car control under all conditions and is ridiculously fast. My father soon dozed off because the race was boring i watched the entire race and haven't stopped watching F1 races. Even when MS was winning everything all the time....i would whinge on AO that it's boring and predictable and that i will stop watching.....and then i would watch the next race and whinge again afterwards(that was a looong period

anyway......i won't go through 'why senna IS the greatest f1 driver' speech again.

Instead, i want to focus on what people seem to continually say about him.

dirty driver - the quiet, sweet talking Prost was the dirtiest of them all. People seem to miss this little fact in all their observations about senna. Prost fought his battles away from the track; he fought them via politics and senna simply couldn't compete as successfully as prost in skullduggery. And, F1 was indeed a dirty spectacle back then(google Jean-Marie Balestre)....it's a bit cleaner today

ruthless - of course he was ruthless. He had to be. He came into F1 as a young innocent kid. The senna legend was born at monaco in that little crappy toleman hart (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/images/large/3293-11.jpg) when senna was simply destroying everyone in wet weather. that was his first taste of political skullduggery as well. (race was stopped after Prost frantic waiving/pleading with senna closing in fast ; prost apparently did that to tell his mechanics that the brakes vibrated ) So, F1 was ruthless back then and Senna had to grow up and learn fast. He was robbed of a win in his first season.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZJBLOU5PlJ.../post+19+3.jpg

his religion/god: no comment......although, this was very well exploited by prost....he tried to portrait senna like a religious fanatic/mad man.

never challenged - his biggest challenge was...himself he always tried to beat his own times/laps/races etc He also struggled against the politics of the day as well as crappy cars e.g. that williams basket case that he died in.

forget the documentaries and senna interviews and interviews on other people discussing senna.....just grab all the footage you can of senna driving cars......it's just......it's simply magnificent to watch...sheer joy.

Last edited by PeterWolf; 22-10-13 at 01:12.
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I love this particular footage. It shows a young and confident senna trying hard to get a competitive seat for his first F1 season(and failing to secure one) These are his first F1 tests with three very different teams. He was faster than anyone in all 3 teams and tests. He is also very aware of his talents/speed and aware of who has power in f1.

Senna's First Formula 1 Test 1983 (with English subtitles) - YouTube
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