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Senna interview from 1990


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#1 Galko877

Galko877
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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:22

In another thread we were talking about interviews with F1 drivers and then I brought up an interview that Playboy made with Ayrton Senna in 1990. I only had it in my language, so I quickly made a translation of it. It’s far from perfect, I know, but hopefully it’s understandable. I think it’s a great insight into Senna’s mind.

Please keep the discussion civil! Thanks.




Playboy: Let’s get on with it. At the last Brazilian GP you were so moved that you started to cry.

Senna: So many people were shouting my name that something got stirred up in me. I was the only Brazlian who could have won… That stirred up my emotions very much. Thank God that I was allowed to live this fantastic moment. But the fans only affected me before the start. After that it was only my own World that existed together with the machine and I didn’t think of anything else but victory. I was almost at my lap record, but then unfortunately everything went wrong.

Playboy: Why? Isn’t it time to tell us what happened?

Senna: I was running fantastically well. I was the quickest in trainings and I got pole position. I kept that position for almost all of the race. The problems started when the Japanese Tyrrell driver Satoru Nakajima was ahead of me. He was pulling off-line at the beginning of the corner and I was trying to overtake him which looked perfectly safe. But then suddenly he changed his mind and blocked the road. I guarantee that next time I will be more careful with him.

Playboy: More careful than you usually are?

Senna: Of course. Nakajima is erratic, like, by the way, so many are in Formula One. Experience teaches me slowly to use a different strategy to all of them.

Playboy: Some people say that although you are indeed the best driver currently, but you have a big fault: you are too reckless. Do you agree with that?

Senna: Enterpreneurial spirit, quickness and determination are characteristical of me, not just on the race track but on every other field of life. These are very worthy characteristics. But in certain situations a too strong character can backfire. I have so much willpower that from time to time it backfires. But that’s what it’s all about: you can learn some things only step by step.

Playboy: What do you think, can it be that you will never be able to win in Brazil?

Senna: Who knows? The Devil, who is the king in this World, can deprive us of some happy moments. But the real king is God. I trust in it very strongly that some day I will be given that happiness.

Playboy: How much hours did you sleep (the night) before the race?

Senna: Three. I got to bed at 3 am and I was already up at 6 am. Relaxing is very important, but unfortunately I couldn’t. I usually can’t sleep more than 6 hours before races. On normal days I sleep 10-12 hours. I love sleeping. But on such nights I simply can’t.

Playboy: What do you dream of?

Senna: In Brazil I was so tired that I didn’t dream at all. But it happens that I have nightmares about crashes, but sometimes I dream of meeting my girlfriend and giving her a big bouqet of flowers.

Playboy: But at the moment you are single, aren’t you?

Senna: Yes, I am.

Playboy: After a long relationship with Adriane Yamin, the daughther of the owner of Duchas Corona…

Senna (interrupting): I have had other girlfriends before. But only few knew about them.

Playboy: You managed to protect your privacy even when it looked almost impossible, for example when you won your title in 1988. Soon after that came the biggest sex icon of Brazil, Xuxa. You didn’t make a secret of that relationship, like you usually do, so a lot of people thought and still think that it was a PR stunt.

Senna: As we are both famous, our lives are in the centre of attention and people started talk of everything like it usually happens. It was sad. But I guarantee that I never tried to publicize our love. When I meet a woman who stirs up my emotions then I live with her for myself, not for the public. I respect the one I love. But with Xuxa we couldn’t do the things like I am used to. She is less in control of her fame than I am. From the beginning our relationship was sensationalized. I was against that. I even had a conflict with people over this.

Playboy: With journalists?

Senna: No. With people who were responsible for it all. Who are responsible for Xuxa’s matters.

Playboy: Are you talking about Marlene Mattos, Xuxa’s manager?

Senna: I wouldn’t like to mention names. But when it started to spread in the press I was very disturbed by it. More and more people were saying it was just a PR stunt. But I swear it is not true. It was a very special period of my life.

Playboy: Did you get on well with Marlene?

Senna: Oh very much… she is a complicated person.

Playboy: Is it true that you asked her permission to date with Xuxa?

Senna (laughing): I contacted Xuxa through Marlene as I asked her to give me her phone number. But I asked for nobody’s permission to date.

Playboy: When did you break up?

Senna: In March. Not long ago I have listened to her (Xuxa’s) interview on TV in which she talked about her privacy, among others about me.

Playboy: In that interview Xuxa said she doesn’t really have time for a love life and that you didn’t want to understand it and you were chasing her…

Senna: Without a doubt I had more time. But even so, we have spent together two weeks and then we were apart for four weeks. The biggest problem is that Xuxa lives for her job and she is living in her own World. I think I was one of the few who could get into that World. I think I grew to know her secret characteristics. But like her I am not an easy person either. So it was difficult. Xuxa simply didn’t give time for the relationship to blossom. She doesn’t have time to think about things like family and children. But you don’t get these things by a fluke. Xuxa is only dreaming but she is not doing anything to change her life.

Playboy: You wanted a more serious relationship?

Senna: So much that I asked her this question.

Playboy: And it wasn’t welcome?

Senna: No. But I had enough relationships already to know what I want. I am not interested in here and now but in the future. With the direction we were going Xuxa would have only been one of many. I didn’t want that. I had to realize that it doesn’t work that way.

Playboy: Who initiated the break-up?

Senna: Many people are curious of that, eh? Surely I won’t tell. But you will probably hear about that from some people close to Xuxa who always know about everything.

Playboy: At the end of the day was your relationship hindered by Marlane Mattos or not?

Senna: She didn’t help for sure.

Playboy: Have you ever really been in love?

Senna (after pausing to think): In the past twelve years I had a lot of painful breakups (long pause), but I can firmly state that all my life there was only one occasion when I felt a strong desire to start a family. In all my life I only felt once that I want a child from somebody. And that somebody was Xuxa.

Playboy: You used to be married but you don’t like to talk about that. Why?

Senna: There are things that you don’t talk about everywhere. But perhaps it’s time to talk about it a little now. I got married in February 1981, I married a childhood friend of mine (Lilian Vasconeclos Sousa). When I started to race in Europe we moved there. I have to note here that she cooked very well. Then a lot of things happened and because of that eight months later I returned to Brazil to participate in my father’s businesses and stop racing. It didn’t go as I expected so in March, 1982 I decided to start a new life, go back to Europe and divorce.

Playboy: Lilian didn’t fit in your plans?

Senna: Our marriage was a mistake. We were too young. It wouldn’t have been lucky to continue that insecure relationship which would have been a source of even bigger problems if we had children. I didn’t regret it because none of us suffered too much. We don’t keep contact but I know she has a new family and she is happy.

Playboy: You didn’t love each other?

Senna: I don’t want to get into it. But I don’t regret anything.

Playboy: There was a rumour that your marriage was invalidated. Was there any basis to it?

(In Brazil a marriage can usually be invalidated only if one of the sides doesn’t fulfil his/her marital obligation.)

Senna: I don’t talk about my love life in public and I never boast with my girlfriends. Because they couldn’t ruin me on the track they used this against me and they created these stories which question my manliness. This is another very sad experience of my life. This invalidating story was just another absurd fantasy. Nothing like that happened. I have never commented this because I had nothing to be afraid of or to prove. But no lie can stand the test of time. As months pass the normal facts of my life slowly dissolve this unpleasant topic.

Playboy: Nelson Piquet poured oil on the fire, when he said you don’t like women. How did that affect you?

Senna: I was very sad. It was an incredibly destructive campaign against me. Because they weren’t able to blow me away on the track they wanted to ruin me with a personal matter. But even this attempt of theirs failed.

Playboy: This slander also affected Américo Jacoto Júnior, who was your secretary and who was your regular companion, and who you dismissed at the end. (Because there was a rumour spreading that Senna and Júnior had a homosexual relationship – Galko.)

Senna: Júnior was… my childhood friend, like a brother. It’s very sad that this absurd lie wasn’t just used to ruin me but also to hurt somebody who I like. I didn’t really dismiss him. Júnior was more my friend than an employee. When he finished University he didn’t know what to do and I asked him to accompany me. So he could see the World, study languages and he was a great company.

Playboy: Piquet was the reason why you became estranged?

Senna: Yes, there was a kind of estrangement, our friendship is not like it used to be. They caused an unbelievably great harm… (Senna pauses tensly for a while). It’s better not to talk about it. I wanted to tell here something… but I rather keep silent.

Playboy: What do you wanted to tell?

Senna: No, no, nothing.

Playboy: Something in connection with this matter?

(Senna switches off the recorder and talks about Piquet very passionately. He asks me to change topics.)

Playboy: Why don’t you use this opportunity to clear this matter once and for all?

Senna: (Silence.)

Playboy: You sued him for this. Does it satisfy you that Piquet backtracked on what he said earlier?

Senna: That doesn’t mean anything because he denied he ever said something like that. It was a very dirty game.

Playboy: You had a close relationship with Karherine, Piquet’s current wife, before they got married, didn’t you?

Senna: We didn’t have a close relationship. But….. I knew her.

Playboy: What do you mean?

Senna (emotionally): I knew her as a woman, that’s all. I knew her as a woman.

Playboy: You never mentioned this. This fact alone wasn’t enough for Piquet to not to spread such things about you that we were just talking about?

Senna: There is nothing to support his claim that I don’t like women.

Playboy: Do you think…

(Senna switches off the recorder and say he doesn’t want to answer any more questions on it.)

Playboy: Because of your love for races one has the impression that you don’t think of anything else but cars.

Senna: When I work I indeed only live for the victory. I don’t have time to talk to the press. It only happens on special occasions. Like now. These are rare occasions but in substance they are so rich that whoever finds me aloof, will grow to like me (after reading it).

Playboy: Are you a loner?

Senna: I often feel loneliness. But I am positive that I will find the ideal person with whom I can share my life. I managed to calm myself that at the right moment I will meet this person. I can be patient. On the other hand I don’t live alone. I keep contact with my loved ones back in Brazil. I call my parents and my siblings several times a day. I never feel alone. I have never been alone either.

Playboy: Do you plan to marry for a second time?

Senna: Why not? But this time I want to hit the jackpot. I would like to have children – it would be very good to have a spouse. But it’s not up to us, is it? Everything is settled according to God’s will.

Playboy: When your son is four will you also give him a kart like your father did to you?

Senna: Only if he will be as talented as I am. But I won’t force him. I would show him other ways too and I would support him in anything he wants to do. He has to grow to love cars and racing by himself. I would defninitely not force him.

Playboy: Where is that old kart now?

Senna: Probably lying as waste material at some wreck yard. I have been playing with that for a couple of years then my father bought me a real kart. The old one was inherited by my brother, Leo. Once he played with it beside my father’s workshop. He was driving fast but careless. We called his name and he looked back while accelerating. He slipped, crashed into a wall and he almost slipped under a lorry. My father was so scared that he threw away the toy.

Playboy: Do you remember your first race?

Senna: I remember the first, the second, my first win… I remember everything. I was 8 when I first participated at a race on a Sao Paulo beach. My father didn’t like it because it were only boys around 18 of age participating. But I entered and I was very happy. We pulled the starting positions from a hat with paper slips. I pulled the Nr 1 – my first ever pole position! I was so small and light that my kart was almost flying and I led the race for a good number of laps. The big boys caught me in the corners but they couldn’t catch me in the straights. With only three laps remaining one of them crashed into me from the back and so a I spun off. But I almost won.

Playboy: Who were your heroes at the time?

Senna: Jackie Stewart, Gilles Villeneuve, Niki Lauda and of course Emerson Fittipaldi. He was the greatest.

Playboy: (Here the recorded tape was damaged)… would you be so quick, wouldn’t you? You were hardly making from one class to upper classes. (The question is apparently about that Senna wasn’t very good at the school. - Galko)

Senna: In the primary school things went reasonably well, I was always sitting in the first row. I started to drop back in high school. I was already building my castles in the air, dreaming about becoming a racecar driver. Instead of the first desks I was sitting in the middle, then in the back. And I was cheating during tests. Once one of my friends wrote my test instead of me. They accepted it – at least I didn’t fail my exam! But this was the lowest point. Then I got rid of this nihilism and I enrolled into the faculty of company management at the Sao Paulo University. But my thoughs were still elswhere. I attended classes for a month then I left school and soon after that I moved to Europe. That’s where everything started.

Playboy: And what did it feel like to sit behind the wheel of a F1 car for the first time?

Senna: It was a fantastic experience. It was in July, 1983 in Donnington Park, one day after the British GP. Frank Williams, the owner of Williams invited me to test. It was like a dream: to see that big, very sophisticated, World Champion machine close-up – and until that it was only driven by two drivers! It was a great feeling to know that I can ignite the engine, I can put it into gear and I can take it out from the pit. That was my day – not Williams’, not others’, just mine. I started with the car and I broke the lap record. It was a great experience. I remember I stepped up to the car, I was watching it, I caressed it, I tapped it tenderly and I said to it: “The time has come! The time has come!”

Playboy: Did you talk to the car?

Senna: Yes, indeed!

Playboy: Do you still talk to your cars?

Senna: No, it only happened that day. I talk to somebody else – to Him, up there (referring to God). In the past two years it became even more intense. I have had fantastic experiences. A new life has opened up for me.

Playboy: This dialogue of yours with God started in Monaco 1988 when you have crashed into the barrier despite of having an advantage of almost 1 minute in front of Alain Prost?

Senna: Exactly. That wasn’t just a driver error. There was such a big fight going on inside of me that it numbed me and made me vulnerable. I was open to God, but also to the Devil. The crash signalled to me that God is waiting to give me his hand. I only had to want it too. It was an incredible experiece. It’s totally different when people are only talking about God. But I could experience Him with my own eyes, own senses. No ambigousness, no misunderstandings. Only the certainty itself.

Playboy: What other similar experiences have you had?

Senna: If I don’t really like to talk about my love life, it’s even more difficult for me to talk about my relationship with God. This is an exceptional experience. This is my own World. In those eyes who don’t believe the whole thing is just a craziness, something stupid. That’s why I feel uneasy to talk about it. On the other hand: why not to share this experience with those who are looking for a new life, just like me?

Playboy: What kind of signs do you get?

Senna: After that 1988 accident God started to talk to me through the Bible. I opened the book, I prayed, I opened up my emotions, I was praying for enlightement. And I opened it exactly where my questions were answered and from where I got courage and presistence.

Playboy: Has anything more specific happened to you?

Senna: I will tell you one of my fresh experiences. In May, before the Monaco GP, in Saturday’s qualifying I realized that something is wrong with my car and I knew I had no chance to win Sunday’s race. There were similar problems with my teammate’s, Gerhard Berger’s McLaren. Well, the victory in Monte Carlo would have been extremely important and I explained that to God. He knows everything that is in our hearts but we have to give ourselves to Him by praying. I did just that. When race day arrived something strange happened to me during the morning warm-up. I could see myself from outside of the car. My car and body were covered in a white line, some kind of protective line of force.

Playboy: Did you see yourself from outside?

Senna: Yes.

Playboy: Did you leave your body?

Senna: Yes. I entered another dimension. I got incredibly relaxed and I felt that in body and in soul I am totally balanced and united. Each and every part of my body and soul was in harmony. Before the starts I am usually serious and silent. But this time I was smiling. I was rolling out from the pits with the same car which a couple of days earlier caused problems but now the problems were gone! Or it’s better to say that they were still there but I wasn’t bothered by them any more. After the race Berger came up to me and said that he still experienced the problems. I was just smiling but I didn’t go into details. I have had not the slightest problem during the race.

Playboy: Do you read the Bible every day?

Senna: No. But at other times I read it several times a day. From it I got to know the mighty God, who created the skies, the Earth and the Universe.

Playboy: Do you go to church?

Senna: I like to go when nobody else is there. When it’s empty and peaceful. I am Chatolic, but I don’t go to masses. That ritual doesn’t attract me at all.

Playboy: Especially if people realize you and ask for authograps?

Senna: No, it’s not because of that. But often the ritual has nothing to do with the essence, it’s very superficial. That’s not my World.

Playboy: When you won the 1988 Japanese GP an you became a World Champion for the first time in your life, you claimed that in the last two corners Jesus has appeared for you. How did that happen?

Senna: I was just thanking Him for the victory. God gifted me a really hard-fought race where I managed to get victory in the penultimate race of the season as it is the dream of every driver. I was concentrating very much during praying and I started to turn into a long 180 degree corner when Jesus appeared to me. He was huge. He didn’t stand on the floor but He was floating in the air in his usual clothes, with his usual colour and with his figure surrounded by a ray of light. His whole body was rising up to the sky, he was filling the whole space. And while I had this unbelieveble vision I was driving a race car! Precisely, strongly. Moved as it has to be. Isn’t it crazy? Crazy!

Playboy: You didn’t see anything else?

Senna: Nothing else. It is undescribable. I was talking to Jesus and he appeared. He simply showed himself to me.

Playboy: What did you think at that moment?

Senna: I was shouting while I crossed the finish line. I was hitting my head, I couldn’t believe it, then I started to cry. From the team many talked to me and I thanked especially to Steve Nichols, my mechanic. I was shouting a lot of things which I cannot repeat now.

Playboy: Swearing?

Senna (laughing): Yes. Among others. The emotions simply burst out from me. Those seconds summed up the work, desires, dreams of a whole life and the victory. It was a real success with undisputed wins and not some World Championship won by collecting small points.

Playboy: Winning by race wins or points – isn’t it the same?

Senna: In each year every sport has its champion. But the champion is not always real, respected and admired, acknowledged by everybody. On the contrary: often the champion is a champion without victories, without merit and fight. Look, if a team like McLaren dominates the World Championship then only two drivers have a chance for victory. But victory is worth a lot more if you achieve that by your own strenght, not because others made mistakes – because your opponents crashed or something. I like to take my wins in the former method, I consider only that as a real victory.

Playboy: With that do you want to say that Alain Prost who won the Championship the next year…

Senna (interrupting): … is a champion without merit. He was so aware of that that he never celebrated his victory. In 1988 I left Japan as a real winner. But a year ago Prost left as a loser. He didn’t win on the track, he didn’t win the title with a victory. Last year at the last race in Australia, which decdided the Championship, he was standing in the pits beside his car and he was not willing to participate because of the rain. He won the title simply by mathemetics. If I had participated in that last race could he call himself a champion now? Prost knew that in the race before I scored nine points, only I was disqualified and those points were taken away from me. If they don’t take them away from me I would be the champion. Is his title worth anything this way?

Playboy: In Japan you were disqualified because you came back on track with an illegal manouvre after you crashed with Prost. McLaren team owner Ron Dennis defended you. He said Prost deliberately hit your car. Is it true?

Senna: It’s clear to see on television. He realized that I was there and he did it deliberately.

Playboy: Is it true that after the race Prost went up to you and you almost hit him?

Senna: Almost. After what he did he came with this “oh I am so sorry” drama? It’s a little hard to believe. I told him to get lost and watch out for his life. In that situation this was the lightest reaction he could get.

Playboy: After you were disqualified from the race you claimed the Championship was manipulated in favour of Prost. Because of that FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre threatened you to DQ you from the races. This case went on for three months. During this time you always believed you were right?

Senna: One hundred percent.

Playboy: So why did you backtracked with your claims at Balestre’s demand?

Senna: It was that the truth was… (long pause). I can’t talk about this yet.

Playboy: When you claimed the Championship was manipulated, did your fans agree with that?

Senna: Yes.

Playboy: And you changed your mind in the last moment?

Senna: No, no, it didn’t change. This is the truth. It didn’t change. (He gets worked up.) But I cannot talk about this now. It would have serious consequences.

Playboy: It was more important to be able to keep on racing?

Senna: In certain moments that was more important but not in this case. I got to the point where I wanted to stop racing. I wanted to give up this job forever. But things suddenly changed and took a different direction.

Playboy: What happened?

Senna: I don’t want to get into details.

Playboy: What did it feel like when you were forced to withdraw your claims?

Senna: What you have just said isn’t true. But I cannot talk about it yet.

Playboy: Did you get support from any other driver?

Senna: Not so much that we could have achieved something practical with that. But there were some public comments by Michele Alboreto, Mauricio Gugelmin and Thierry Boutsen.

Playboy: From these which one…

Senna (firmly): I cannot talk about this topic any more. Unfortunately.

Playboy: OK, so let’s put this clear: how did things get here with Prost?

Senna: The problems started in the middle of 1988 when I started to catch him and threaten his position in the team. The pressure grew and he started to panic. He tried to ruin the good working environment because only so he had a chance to beat me. With equal opportunities he couldn’t have done that.

Playboy: Your critics claim that while Prost set-up the car you were almost sitting in his lap and learning the tricks. Is that true?

Senna: I had to learn from him as he has great experience and he knows McLaren for many years. I can only learn from those who have knowledge and I can only beat them by learning from them. That was my strategy – and it worked.

Playboy: In 1988 they (McLaren) still tried to keep up appearances. But in 1989 in Imola the bomb set off. Prost accused you of betrayal and that you don’t keep the agreements between you. What happened?

Senna: As we had better cars than others we agreed that at the start we take care of the car and we don’t overtake into the first corner. After the start he took first position, however I caught his slipstream, accelerated and I could overtake him before the first corner. And then I quickly pulled a gap. Then he started to push so much that he spun and crashed. After the race he was furious. He blamed me for the defeat and he said that I didn’t keep the agreement. And that’s when the internal fight started.

Playboy: What is it about?

Senna: Imola was only the last drop in the glass, our relationship already turned sour in 1988 when he lost against me in the Championship. Prost was totally worn out. So much that when we went to England to test, he stayed in France and he threatened to quit racing. It would have been a big blow for McLaren as they couldn’t have replaced him with anybody at the time. Ron Dennis was desperately trying to find a solution. Then we made a deal (Senna and Dennis) that I will give the chance for Prost to backtarck (from his decision to retire). We three sat together and I admitted that I made a mistake. With that I left the emergency door open for him where he could get out from this situation.

Playboy: Prost’s version is different. He claims that you broke your agreement and that at the pressure of Ron Dennis you admitted that and you even started to cry.

Senna: That’s true. I was crying. His emotional state made a big impression on me. Prost was totally torn apart, he wasn’t in the state to keep on racing. He simply ceased to exist.

Playboy: Are you saying that you were crying because you felt sorry for him?

Senna: Exactly. But he was never able to understand that. The next week in Monaco he told a different version to the French press. I didn’t comment that. I kept my mouth and again I just swallowed. I wanted to prove it on the track that I was better than him. Accidentaly I had crazy luck: during race weekends I am usually alone but at that race Xuxa was there with me in my Monte Carlo flat. After I finished my job at the track I was running to be with her. So I didn’t have time to comment on our sour relationship (with Prost). But for me Prost ceased to exist.

Playboy: And what was Ron Dennis’ role in all this?

Senna: At the next race in Mexico Prost went to Ron to complain that I don’t talk to him. “After what you have done to him you want him to be your friend?” – that was the answer he got. With that his career was over. Ron didn’t want Prost in the team any more, but he didn’t know how to tell him. But Prost realized that immediately and he signed to Ferrari.

Playboy: But before you won the title, didn’t you say that Prost was the best driver in the World?

Senna: Indeed I said that. And among all drivers he is really one of the most talented.

Playboy: Is he the Professor as the French claim?

Senna: No, but he is a great driver.

Playboy: After you have beaten him don’t you think you are better than him?

Senna: It’s not a matter of words. This year I was leading in all of the first five races, I won three of them and I took four pole positions. The results speak for themselves. Of course, I have my own opinion which is pretty clear. But I would be badly advised to tell it.

Playboy: Ron Dennis swears that you are better (than Prost).

Senna: He worked with many great champions and he doesn’t just see the resutls but also how they are achieved. From Ron’s part it’s a rare praise.

Playboy: So that means you are forced to agree with him when he says: Senna is better?

Senna: I have no other choice.

Playboy: Before your relationship turned sour Prost said if he was a team owner he would sign you as a driver. Piquet also made a similar comment. And who would you sign?

Senna: This is not a realistic question.

Playboy: But by that you can tell us who do you think the best drivers are?

Senna: I won’t answer that. I don’t care if Mansell is the best or Berger or Piquet or Prost… they are all great drivers.

Playboy: You don’t let yourself trapped, do you? Are you really such a difficult guy as you seem?

Senna: I have a strong character and firm beliefs. Perhaps that’s why I have so many problems and that’s why I have enemies in Formula One. Besides a lot of people are irritated by my person.

Playboy: Are they jealous?

Senna: This feeling belongs to life.

Playboy: Piquet agrees with that. He claimed to Playboy that you are jealous of him.

Senna: That’s his opinion.

Playboy: He also said that when he read your contract with Lotus he realized you only got half of the money than what you claimed in the press.

Senna (in an ironic tone): This is probably a misundetstanding or a mistake. Anyway he accepted my old contract. He even got less than what I would have got if I had stayed with the team.

Playboy: When at the end of 1987 Lotus announced the signing of Piquet you didn’t yet have a contract with McLaren. So seemingly it was like a dismission (by Lotus). How did it feel to be fired?

Senna: The truth is that it was my decision to leave. I got offers from Ferrari and McLaren and then I talked to Peter Warr, the team chief of Lotus and told him that I quit. He was trying to keep me by every possible means, even by promising more money - as long as he didn’t realize that I won’t change my mind. That’s when they were trying to find another driver quickly. In this difficult situation they found Piquet and they tried to make the World believe that they fired me. Anybody who doesn’t know the real story may think that I was running to McLaren after this, but in reality my negotiations with them were already pretty advanced at the time. We only didn’t sign the deal yet because it was pretty complicated.

Playboy: So you say that the signing of Piquet didn’t surprise you?

Senna: I was only surprised by the fact that the deal was made public before they informed me officially.

Playboy: But you didn’t even know that they were negotioating with another driver…

Senna: Of course I knew! I had contacts at Reynolds, the sponsor of Lotus and at Honda where we got the engines from. I got all the important, confidential informations from all sides. They were sitting in a London room at Reynolds office leading “secret” negotiations with Piquet while I already knew everything – even the moment when the contract was signed.

Playboy: How?

Senna: I was sitting in my own car, a Mercedes with a phone and I got calls from Reynolds. They were sitting there with Piquet and Lotus but they haven’t yet decided whether to sign the contract. They made it dependent on me. In the last hour one of the leading men stepped out from the room and called me and I confirmed to him my earlier decision that I leave the team. It was only after that when they signed the contract with him (Piquet). Piquet laughed but I was laughing before him. Those who love me were furious because they thought I was cheated. But the truth always comes to light – just like now.

Playboy: I think that’s why you always said Formula One is a disgusting circus. Do you mean the conflicts between drivers, the stewards, the teams or the sponsors’ interests?

Senna: Maybe I expressed myself a little too agressively. Formula One is a great spectacle. But like every great event it has its downside which takes a lot away from its beauty.

Playboy: Couldn’t a well functioning driver alliance keep balance in these interests? For example when you clashed with Balestre, couldn’t it have been a help?

Senna: There was a time when drivers still kept together, but by now that doesn’t exist any more. The interests are too different. There are some who are in a powerful position but they are on the other side of the barricade. Those who race at small teams or second tiers have hardly any power. I don’t waste my time with such an initiative.

Playboy: When you used the word “disgusting” describing F1, you certainly didn’t think of the beautiful women around the circus. Is it hard to resist temptation?

Senna: Of course, it is. There were occasions when I managed to resist and there were when I gave up the fight – every version happened to me.

Playboy: According to your Brazilian trainer Nuno Cobra you are not only a champion with McLaren but in another “field” as well…..

Senna (sips from his juice before he answers shyly): Nobody complained yet. I am a tender type.

Playboy: Has it ever happened to you that you failed?

Senna: Yes, once. In 1982. I was almost a kid, I just started racing in England. The woman was unbelievably attractive. But I couldn’t. It was not that my manliness failed me, but I had to concentrate very much to do it.

Playboy: You had to ignate the turbo?

Senna (laughing): At the time there wasn’t turbo yet. And my fitness wasn’t as great either as Nuno Cobra claims. But it was important that it happened. Until I was 20 my relationships with women were only defined by physical attraction. This was the sign that it’s not what is dominating any more. From that point I gave more importance to the personality and certain small details. This was the first sign of a big change inside of me.

Playboy: And what was your first time like?

Senna: The first time? I was 13. I remember together with one of my cousins, who was 20 at the time, we went to a club in downtown Sao Paulo. I was very small at the time so they didn’t let me in. Then I was sitting at the entrance watching the people going in. Suddenly I saw that a big, I mean really big, woman goes in. Soon after that my cousin came out with this big woman on his side. So that’s how it happened.

Playboy: Was she blonde or brunette?

Senna (with a big laugh): It isn’t important.

Playboy: Why not?

Senna: Just because.

Playboy: Why are you so secretive?

Senna: She was blonde. And a prostitute. Later of course I realized that it had nothing to do with what is important but at the time it was good. At the age of 13 it’s difficult for a boy to find a girlfriend with whom he can have a relationship. Those 15 year old girls who are already willing, are looking for 18 year old boys. So I had no choice.

Playboy: Just one more thing: did it happen there in the car?

Senna (laughing): No. In the woman’s flat. It was organized very well.

Playboy: You have a very turbulent lifestyle. Has it happen to you that for a long time you didn’t have any women in your life?

Senna: Huh, I cannot really answer that now… this is really very personal (silence). I think it happened to me after my divorce. For six months I didn’t even look at any woman.

Playboy: Why not?

Senna: I didn’t feel like. It was a very difficult period for me. I had the opportunity but I wasn’t thinking about that. And I didn’t meet any woman who was interesting enough to motivate me. The truth is that I have very high standards.

Playboy: Don’t the fans chase you?

Senna: It happens. Once in Italy a crazy woman was banging on my door. I opened it and she started to push me inside.

Playboy: And what happened?

Senna: I pushed her back to the corridor. (Laughs.) It was pretty funny.

Playboy: It never happened to you that you accpeted the offer?

Senna: It did. In 1988 after the Canadian GP an English girl asked me for a kiss. She used the word “hug” which I didn’t know. She asked: Can I have a hug? I got scared but Lisa, Ron Dennis’ wife who is American explained to me what it means. Then I said: Why not?

Playboy: Are you bothered by sex before races?

Senna: On the contrary. It’s good for me. I can face the race more relaxed.

Playboy: Did it ever happen to you that you got an aching stomach during a race?

Senna: Only before the start but then several times. During a race something far worse happened to me. I got cramped, every muscle of mine, so much that I couldn’t breath because of the pain. It was in 1984 during my second F1 race. I wasn’t prepared physically to drive for two ours in that heat, losing a lot of liquid. At the end the prospect of getting my first point made me go thorough until the finish line.

Playboy: How much weight do you lose during a race?

Senna: On average two kilos. If it’s hot, three. But you get that back very quickly if you drink enough water.

Playboy: How do you prepare yourself for the races?

Senna: Since 1984 with a physical conditioning programme. From December to March, when there aren’t races, I stay in Brazil where I run 8-10 kms five times a week on the sport track of the Sao Paulo University. When I start travelling I try to stay in a good shape. I have a regular companion from McLaren who gives me a massage and takes care of my meal during tests and trainings. I eat a lot of vegetables, carbohydrates, fish, chicken and pasta. For breakfast I usually have some kind of cornflakes and fruits. During race weekends from Thursday to Sunday I usually control my meals a lot more strictly.

Playboy: How does your pace of life change for the race weekends?

Senna. It changes in everything. My schedule determines strictly when I have to have breakfast, when I have to arrive at the track, when I have to get into the car, have lunch and go back to the car. Every step of mine is scheduled and the work is hard and continous. On the nights before races I try to go to bed early because the next morning I have to wake up between 7 and 8. These rules vary from country to country but my schedule usually doesn’t change. The aim is that I get to the track as balanced as possible.

Playboy: And what does your heart do before races?

Senna: It’s worse than most fans’ (heart)! Normally my heart beats about 60 times per minute. Before the starts it reaches 150! At the peak of the races it can even go up to 190!

Playboy: Is it because of the fear?

Senna: Because of the tension, because of the excitement of not to make a mistake during changing gears or overtaking. The fear comes when I am alone before the race. The danger of an accident is always there. I am very much afraid, not just of death but also of injury. Which is a good thing because it strengthens my life-instinct and stops me from crossing certain limits.

Playboy: Which was your most serious accident so far?

Senna: Thank God all I got thus far is a broken finger because of a silly crash in Interlagos, in 1974. Ten years later I had a more ugly accident in Hockenheim, Germany, on a very fast track. The wing of my Toleman broke off and at 280 kph I spun six times. I didn’t even have time to close my eyes. The only thing I wanted was not to get the hit from the front. I propped myself against my cockpit and I turned around to get the hit from the back. This is the best situation while crashing. A hit from the front can be deadly and it’s also dangerous to get it laterally. This was my most serious accident. But I have already had more risky situations.

Playboy: What was that like?

Senna: It happened in 1988 in Monaco, at the qualifying. I already took pole, but kept going. On every new lap I increased my advantage I was already two seconds ahead of them, which is an eternity over a race distance. I surpassed myself on every lap, I stepped into another dimension. Because of the big speed my sense of space and time changed, I suddenly saw a tunnel in front of me instead of the track. The difference between man and machine ceased to exist, I was united with the car, we became one. After five laps I felt something like a pinprick and I realized that I was in danger. I started to shake in my whole body then I returned to the pits.

Playboy: Were you very scared?

Senna: Of course. I was very scared. I still had the car under control, but I started to slip into the subconscious regions. And there I don’t know what can happen.

Playboy: Many people think that those who are driving around in circles on race tracks all their life, are a little crazy. What do you think of that?

Senna: Anybody who is not balanced enough won’t survive this job.

Playboy: Do you go to (psycho)therapy?

Senna: I have been twice, the last time at the end of 1988. I got to know many things of myself, it was very useful. If I had time I surely would continue.

Playboy: Is your life outside of the track is a race against time?

Senna: To a certain extent yes. I could do many things, for example advertising, with that I could make a lot of money. But I try to avoid these as racing consumes all of my energy. When I am in Europe I try to relax as much as possible. I go to bed early, I sleep until noon and I hardly leave my Monaco flat. I don’t even go out to have a lunch or dinner. My Portugese cleaning lady Isabel cooks very well. On late afternoons I go to jog. But I try to stay in Europe as little as possible. When I have a free week I go home to Brazil.

Playboy: And what do you do here (in Brazil)?

Senna: I try to keep away from my office where they always find some work for me (laughs). I like to be at home with my three nephews. Or I travel to Tauti, to my country house. There is a big lake there where you can jet-ski, waterski and play with remote controlled boats. There is also a kart track there where together with my five-year-old nephew Bruno we do some racing. I ride motorbikes, bicycle, I jog.

Playboy: Do you read a lot?

Senna: Very little. I don’t have the patience. That’s a big fault of mine.

Playboy: You don’t even read what they write about you?

Senna: Not really.

Playboy: And what about movies?

Senna: I like movies those are not slow.

Playboy: You like music, don’t you?

Senna: I love it. Usually I travel alone and then I always have my walkman and two casettes with me. When I arrive at the hotel I usually switch on the TV but I have little to do with these foreign programmes. I rather listen to music – any kind of music that my brother recorded for me. Of course I like Brazilian (music) the most.

Playboy: Do you go to concerts?

Senna: Not often. Mainly when I am abroad and I don’t have a company. When I’m in Brazil I rather like to stay at home.

Playboy: But you sometimes go out in Sao Paulo, don’t you?

Senna: Sometimes I go to a restaurant with my friends, sometimes even to clubs. I used to go to the Gallery (a club or a restaurant, I guess - Galko), but it was long ago.

Playboy: Has it ever happened to you that you drank more than you should have?

Senna (laughs): I don’t deny it, it happened already. But I don’t drink much. I like wine and champagne. For example, after the Monaco GP I drank a bottle of wine which I haven’t done for a long time. However I can’t stand whisky and beer.

Playboy: Have you ever tried any kind of drug?

Senna: Does ether count as a drug? I have already smelled it. At first it was good, but for the second time it wasn’t so I stopped. I don’t need that. I didn’t start smoking either.

Playboy: So how does it feel like to be sponsored by Marlboro?

Senna: The name of the brand is on the car but with that I don’t force anybody to smoke. Philip Morris contributed a lot to motorsports. This company made the sport popular in the World and it made it possible for many to follow the races live. I view this side, not the negativities.

Playboy: But do you think smoking is harmful or not?

Senna: Without a doubt it’s not good for health. On the other hand there are people who stop smoking and gain weight.

Playboy: But people who never smoked don’t get into this situation. So your motto would be: “Don’t start it!”?

Senna: To be honest I would never participate in such a campaign. The reasons are obvious.

Playboy: And other campaigns? Didn’t the mayor of Sao Paulo, Luíza Erudina from the PT Party want to get your support for the nominee of the party, Lula?

Senna: That doesn’t matter. Almost every nominee wanted my support. But I am not a political type, I don’t know much about politics and I don’t even want to. I am independent and I voted for the one who wanted the best for everybody.

Playboy: Are Brazilian cars really bad wagons as President Collor claims?

Senna: No. The only problem is that they cost too much compared to European and especially Japanese cars. Also the restriction on technical import made the development of Brazilian car manufacturing harder. Now that they opened (the market) again the quality can only improve.

Playboy: What do you think the best road cars are?

Senna: I would import any Mercedes from Europe and from Japan Hondas. Toyota and GM also produces very good car. That’s what President Collor wants to introduce in Brazil as well.

Playboy: Brazilians can only hope that they will see you many times on the podium until the end of the championship. How would you react if during this time Balestre would mix you up with Jean Alesi and he would kiss you like he did to the Frenchman in Monaco?

Senna: That will never happen (laughs). Maybe once I will be able to talk about this topic more clearly. As openly as I have been talking about other matters of my life now.

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#2 holiday

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:24

Thanks, but could we move that to the Nostalgia Forum?

#3 Galko877

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:30

Well, of the Nostalgia Forum I have the feeling anything that is not older than the 80s, is not really welcome there, so that's why I decided to put it here.

#4 Dooly Tilly

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:33

lol at seeing Jesus. :lol: :rotfl:

#5 Galko877

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:41

When I read this interview and also when I translated it the one word on mind was: contradictions. I think that's what describes Senna's personality the best.

A very, very interesting interview IMO. Not because I agree with everything he says there, but because it gives a very good insight into how Senna ticked. His confidence in his own right seems to be unshakable. He is fantastically arrogant too. For example at one point he says: even if some people might have found him aloof earlier, reading this interview certainly they will all grow to like him. I mean that’s some self-confidence! Compared to him I would say the Schumachers, Hamiltons and Alonsos of this world are actually pretty modest...

He looks a bit confused and conflicted too. On one hand he is talking about his deep faith like a preacher, on the other hand he is not living by his faith. I mean if he was reading the Bible regularly he should have known what it says about sex outside marriage, for example. Yet he is boasting about his machismo and advetures. Or the way he is talking about Prost, well that's not really Christian. I don’t say it to judge him, I only mention it to point out why I think he is full of contradictions.

On the other hand I can see why so many people found Senna charming and “charismatic” – after all it’s this unshakable self-confidence that we would all like to have, isn’t it? That we are so confident in our own right and so suggestive about it that we can make people echo our version of the truth like it is the unquestionable, ultimate truth.

#6 Clatter

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:41

And I suppose you only picked it up for the interview.;)

#7 Madras

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:47

Any chance you could post some pictures from that issue?;)

#8 as65p

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:51

Originally posted by Galko877
When I read this interview and also when I translated it the one word on mind was: contradictions. I think that's what describes Senna's personality the best.


It does. But really for every human being. It was the intensity that set him apart, for good and bad.

I mean if he was reading the Bible regularly he should have known what it says about sex outside marriage, for example. Yet he is boasting about his machismo and advetures. Or the way he is talking about Prost, well that's not really Christian. I don’t say it to judge him, I only mention it to point out why I think he is full of contradictions.


As I said, I agree about the contradictions in his character (only a "blind or stupid" man wouldn't ;)).

But the bible isn't exactly the best example... "book of contradictions" really is it's sub-title. :p

#9 Galko877

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 16:58

Originally posted by as65p


But the bible isn't exactly the best example... "book of contradictions" really is it's sub-title. :p


Well, I don't think it's contradictive if you really know it. ;)
But the point is here not to analyze the Bible but Senna's personality.

I also wonder if he really saw all those thing he described (or really thought he was seeing these things) or this way he was trying to manuplate people into thinking he was special?

#10 Alfisti

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:04

He liked his hash didn't he.

#11 Galko877

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:06

I also liked the part when he said he was crying because he felt sorry for Prost, because Prost was so torn apart. :lol:

#12 mursuka80

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:12

This current crop of drivers aint nothing compared to Senna personality wise.I wish i was born 10 years earlier :(

#13 Alfisti

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:16

Originally posted by mursuka80
This current crop of drivers aint nothing compared to Senna personality wise.I wish i was born 10 years earlier :(


You are kidding surely? He's absolutely crazy.

#14 as65p

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:21

Originally posted by Galko877


Well, I don't think it's contradictive if you really know it. ;)


I concour, but that's really not for this place... :wave:

But the point is here not to analyze the Bible but Senna's personality.

I also wonder if he really saw all those thing he described (or really thought he was seeing these things) or this way he was trying to manuplate people into thinking he was special?


My view of that is pretty clear cut, I'm as agnostic as they come - as a Senna fan, uh-oh, the contradictions... :D

So for me the answer could only be he "really thought he was seeing these things", because it really makes no sense pretending to see them. He certainly gained nothing whatsoever talking about those experiences, quite the contrary.

#15 Galko877

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:23

Originally posted by as65p



So for me the answer could only be he "really thought he was seeing these things", because it really makes no sense pretending to see them. He certainly gained nothing whatsoever talking about hos experiences, quite the contrary.


But if he was seeing things those weren't there, doesn't that qualify him as borderline crazy? How could Sid Watkins let him race? :p

#16 mursuka80

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:31

Originally posted by Alfisti


You are kidding surely? He's absolutely crazy.


Crazy is better than boring :up:

#17 as65p

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:33

Originally posted by Galko877


But if he was seeing things those weren't there, doesn't that qualify him as borderline crazy? How could Sid Watkins let him race? :p


Not any more than every person believing in...

But as I said, that's really not for this place.

And the admirable Sid Watkins must have had very loose standards at times, it comes with the job of watching over a bunch of lunatics.

I mean, going back to "blind or stupid", he let MS race on even after the latter had claimed to not being able to recognize another car 20cm beside and half a metre in front of his own... that's hardly any less dangerous than having the odd religious experience here or there.

;)

#18 Galko877

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:41

Originally posted by as65p


Not any more than every person believing in...


;)


It's one thing to believe, it's another to see things those aren't there.

#19 rolf123

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:43

Wow this is incredible! Thank you so much for posting it!

Lot's of new quotes and also lots of further insight and different angles into what we already knew.

The 180 degree where he saw god, is he referring to Spoon curve? Incredible!

And I never knew he tried ether and lost his virginity to a prossie at the age of 13!!

I do think this should be in the Nostalgia forum though, I think people there will appreciate it much more.

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#20 rolf123

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:44

Originally posted by Clatter
And I suppose you only picked it up for the interview.;)


Playboy is pretty much useless if you want to see the pictures. It's more of a gentlemen's mag, even satire in parts.

#21 se7en_24

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:46

Originally posted by mursuka80


Crazy is better than boring :up:

But he's not Finnish so you wouldn't have supported him anyway.

#22 BRK

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:47

I've always believed all that talk of god and him seeing things was just his sensory interpretation of how deeply he tapped into his subconscious.Intense concentration coupled with introversion (and thus a need to find something extra within themselves) does this to people.Given his religious background,he probably 'saw' what he wanted to see-his personal trigger that convinced him of his own superiority and these visions and 'conversations' with god.Sounded loony to the majority of us,but what the hell-in a different age and era,he'd have made a good prophet of sorts.Intense and complex individuals like him draw immediate attention and fascination/scorn wherever they end up.

Personally,I found the bit where he talks of settling down and having kids rather funny,though-we're clearly from two different planets. :p

#23 as65p

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:47

Originally posted by Galko877


It's one thing to believe, it's another to see things those aren't there.


Not to me.

My last word on the religious stuff, BTW, for obvious reasons. :wave:

#24 mursuka80

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:51

Originally posted by se7en_24

But he's not Finnish so you wouldn't have supported him anyway.


How do you know who i support or would have supported?

#25 as65p

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 17:55

Originally posted by rolf123


I do think this should be in the Nostalgia forum though, I think people there will appreciate it much more.


Not in this boards nostalgia section, believe me.

#26 BrawnsBrain

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 18:21

Brilliant interview :clap:

It seems Senna had a deep connection to his subconscious, such was his sheer height of concentration.

You can see he was nearly passed out in the car, driving entirely on automatic, which is incredibly dangerous because when the 'pin prick' happens as he described it, and you come back into consciousness, you'd be freaked out at any moment, not just by your sheer speed but by awaking from such an extreme psychological state.

I believe he was capable of being hypnotised by racing, the movement of the track, the feeling from the car. It was so overwhelming, the rest of his 'normal' brain just switched off, overwhelmed by his senses and concentration levels.

A very interesting personality indeed, and also interesting to see what effects endorphins have on the brain - religious visions aplenty!

#27 4ren

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 18:22

Galko, you really took the time to translate such a long (and absolutely great to read) interview. Great effort, thank you!

#28 airwise

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 19:01

Great interview in parts. Can you imagine if quotes like that leaked from certain protagonists in this day and age?

#29 holiday

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 19:06

I think we should cut a deal: from the time when RB, the last driver AS who raced against AS, retires, all threads related to AS should be moved immediately to the Nostalgia forum however much the guys over there might complain.

It cannot be that for years now the moderators have been trying to look as hard away as possible when the mandatory AS thread pops up in Racing Comments, completely unrelated to current formula 1 as always.

Nonetheless, Galko, excellent job, it made me look up Xuxa who stills look great. :up:

#30 Sergino

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 19:06

Oh my God...this is one of a kind...

#31 Galko877

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 19:32

Originally posted by holiday
I think we should cut a deal: from the time when RB, the last driver AS who raced against AS, retires, all threads related to AS should be moved immediately to the Nostalgia forum however much the guys over there might complain.

It cannot be that for years now the moderators have been trying to look as hard away as possible when the mandatory AS thread pops up in Racing Comments, completely unrelated to current formula 1 as always.

Nonetheless, Galko, excellent job, it made me look up Xuxa who stills look great. :up:


Maybe the Nostalgia forum should be cut in sub-sections: pre-F1, 1950-1970, the 1980s, 1990-2006. Or at least into two sections: Prior to the 1990s and 1990-2006.

I think people like Schumacher, Häkkinen, Hill, Villeneuve etc. qualify as nostalgia and actually anybody who has already left F1, yet topics on the 1990s and 2000s are not really welcome there. So where should somebody post who would like to talk about those eras? :|

#32 as65p

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 19:36

Originally posted by holiday
I think we should cut a deal: from the time when RB, the last driver AS who raced against AS, retires, all threads related to AS should be moved immediately to the Nostalgia forum however much the guys over there might complain.

It cannot be that for years now the moderators have been trying to look as hard away as possible when the mandatory AS thread pops up in Racing Comments, completely unrelated to current formula 1 as always.


Someone sounds a bit annoyed here, I wonder why... ;)

Just look away.

It works for me on the "hottest driver" thread, which BTW isn't related to racing AT ALL...

#33 BunnyK

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 20:12

Originally posted by Galko877
When I read this interview and also when I translated it the one word on mind was: contradictions. I think that's what describes Senna's personality the best.

A very, very interesting interview IMO. Not because I agree with everything he says there, but because it gives a very good insight into how Senna ticked. His confidence in his own right seems to be unshakable. He is fantastically arrogant too. For example at one point he says: even if some people might have found him aloof earlier, reading this interview certainly they will all grow to like him. I mean that’s some self-confidence! Compared to him I would say the Schumachers, Hamiltons and Alonsos of this world are actually pretty modest...

He looks a bit confused and conflicted too. On one hand he is talking about his deep faith like a preacher, on the other hand he is not living by his faith. I mean if he was reading the Bible regularly he should have known what it says about sex outside marriage, for example. Yet he is boasting about his machismo and advetures. Or the way he is talking about Prost, well that's not really Christian. I don’t say it to judge him, I only mention it to point out why I think he is full of contradictions.

On the other hand I can see why so many people found Senna charming and “charismatic” – after all it’s this unshakable self-confidence that we would all like to have, isn’t it? That we are so confident in our own right and so suggestive about it that we can make people echo our version of the truth like it is the unquestionable, ultimate truth.


Usually journalists put some words in the intervieweds mouth (that's a spanish expression but I think you'll understand it) so I would assume not every word is his.

#34 SevenTwoSeven

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 20:28

Fantastic, thanks for posting! Always interesting to read anything about Senna. Especaily his 'experiences' when driving and stuff. Consider myself very lucky to have seen him win at Spa in 1990..even though i did go to cheer on Mansell!

#35 stevewf1

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 20:34

Originally posted by as65p
But the bible isn't exactly the best example... "book of contradictions" really is it's sub-title. :p

Senna: Who knows? The Devil, who is the king in this World, can deprive us of some happy moments. But the real king is God. I trust in it very strongly that some day I will be given that happiness.


Think about it...

#36 Coral

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 21:11

A lovely and revealing interview...I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks Galko for posting. :)

#37 jimm

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 21:13

Originally posted by as65p


Not any more than every person believing in...

But as I said, that's really not for this place.

And the admirable Sid Watkins must have had very loose standards at times, it comes with the job of watching over a bunch of lunatics.

I mean, going back to "blind or stupid", he let MS race on even after the latter had claimed to not being able to recognize another car 20cm beside and half a metre in front of his own... that's hardly any less dangerous than having the odd religious experience here or there.

;)


Watkins and Senna were fast freinds and he admired Senna quite a bit.

In an issue of Autosport around 10yrs after his death, Watkins gave a pretty touching interview. In it he describes Senna as one of 3 men that have died that he dreams about speaking with...the other 2 are his father and the Neurosurgen he trained with.

I doubt he had any issue with Senna racing.

#38 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 21:25

Thats some heavy sh!t! Great read, thanks.

#39 as65p

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 21:33

Originally posted by jimm


Watkins and Senna were fast freinds and he admired Senna quite a bit.

In an issue of Autosport around 10yrs after his death, Watkins gave a pretty touching interview. In it he describes Senna as one of 3 men that have died that he dreams about speaking with...the other 2 are his father and the Neurosurgen he trained with.

I doubt he had any issue with Senna racing.


I know about their friendship, I read Watkins book, among other things.

Was just responding lightheartedly to Galkos post, I thought that was obvious?!

Cheers... :wave:

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#40 TickTickBooom

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 22:09

Thank you so much, Galko. It must have taken you ages to translate it and from what I've seen, you've done it perfectly. I'm going to read it properly later over dinner.

#41 brabhamBT19

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 22:15

R.I.P. Ayrton,

but I have to say this,

I think the guy was a bit crazy. Don't you think? The God, the Devil, out of body experience and seeing Jesus while driving an F1 car at full speed.

anyway RIP Ayrton, I have enormous respect for you, but I think you were crazy. I have to say this.

#42 rolf123

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 22:28

Maybe this is crazy.....but when I read the words of Senna (not just this article but more), I think he is the closest thing to God I have ever known......and I am an atheist!

Some people may laugh at me for this but I don't care.

#43 Imperial

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 22:57

Galko, a million thanks for translating that interview.

I don't think I've read such a passionate interview with anyone ever. I'd really like to see an interview of that depth take place with one of today's drivers, if any of them are interesting enough to give such colourful answers.

I agree with your point about whether he really saw (or well, at least believed he saw) Jesus and really felt the presence of God etc, or indeed was it something else. Maybe it was said in a bid to build his own myth, maybe he just exaggerated (unintentionally) some very intense feelings he had. It's easy to tear apart written-word interviews, but anyone who has seen or heard Senna speak will know that he actually was an incredibly intense man. I personally don't believe it would be his style to create hiw own myth, I don't think it would have even crossed his mind to do so, and nor do I think his ethics (off-track at least) were slack enough to allow him to do such a thing. I actually don't think he gave a shit about himself enough to care about having a myth or whatever.

It's interesting that a lot of the people in the world who talk intensely about forms of spirituality (Senna's example here, Bill Hicks' one-consciousness theory) die young. This means we will hold them to certain views for eternity. It has been alleged that on his death bed Bill Hicks accepted God into his life days before his death. I do not believe it. With Senna you have to wonder, if he was here today at 49 years old would he still be talking about having visions of Jesus or would he be talking about how he now realises it could not possibly have happened and it was a figment of his imaginatin caused by him being utterly absorbed in an intense situation for what would now be the relatively few years of his life in which he was at the utter peak of motorsport competition?

#44 Frans

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 22:58

best thread posted on this board since a loooooooooong time. :up:

Absolutely painting material........ the Mona Lisa is nothing against this if you see what Senna said in that interview .....

Respect about the stuff he dared to talk about in there, people here should be carefull about what they're personal opinion is about his words... it's not all bullshit.

#45 WigF1

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 23:12

Galko, thank you so much for posting that interview. It's an awesome read and definately reveals a some new bits of information to me.

Thanks again

#46 BrawnsBrain

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 00:20

Can you imagine Hamilton admitting he lost his virginity as a 13 year old kid, to a prostitute, in an interview with Playboy magazine?

Boggles the mind! :drunk: :drunk: :drunk: :drunk: :drunk: :drunk: :drunk: :drunk: :drunk:

Different era. Different drivers. None of the modern day PR bullshit and sponsor-speak.

#47 Tolyngee

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 01:20

Originally posted by BrawnsBrain
Can you imagine Hamilton admitting he lost his virginity as a 13 year old kid


Didn't Hammy meet Ron Dennis at age 13?

(it certainly was the end of the innocence...)

#48 Slyder

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 03:39

Originally posted by Tolyngee


Didn't Hammy meet Ron Dennis at age 13?

(it certainly was the end of the innocence...)



Oh please... :rolleyes:

Sheesh...

#49 Galko877

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 05:54

Originally posted by BunnyK


Usually journalists put some words in the intervieweds mouth (that's a spanish expression but I think you'll understand it) so I would assume not every word is his.


From the notes in the interview I think the whole interview was recorded on a tape. I don't think there's much room for a journalist there to put words into Senna's mouth.

#50 Galko877

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:02

Originally posted by Imperial
I personally don't believe it would be his style to create hiw own myth, I don't think it would have even crossed his mind to do so, and nor do I think his ethics (off-track at least) were slack enough to allow him to do such a thing. I actually don't think he gave a shit about himself enough to care about having a myth or whatever.


From what I read Senna was very conscious of his own PR. While he was still in feeder series he made a deal with a young unknown photographer, a certain Sutton, to make press files of his racing with photos, results, race reports etc and send them around to F1 teams. So Senna could made F1 team bosses aware of him and it also helped Sutton to get into the F1 business.