Jump to content


Photo

Oh, Dear! There's half a cockroach in your sandwich.....


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 Don Capps

Don Capps
  • Member

  • 5,933 posts
  • Joined: May 99

Posted 10 September 2001 - 23:03

Quoted by DSJ in Motor Sport, April 1991

One final thought, could it be that Ayrton Senna is not that good, he only looks good because the rest are so bad?


Few things are guaranteed to get the paeans or the venom flowing faster than mentioning Ayrton Senna da Silva. He seems to be a topic on which there is no middle ground -- saint or sinner. The emotional context which always seems to surround any discussion of Senna is an outgrowth of his tragic death at Imola in 1994. Whatever the opinion many held about Senna prior to that moment, there was little doubt what it would be from that point forward.

The almost complete lack of any real discussion on Senna on this forum -- or elsewhere for that matter -- is that any dissent from the prevailing view of Senna as The Greatest Or At The Least The Greatest Of His Era becomes tends to become visceral in a heartbeat.

There is also a view that his driving talent and any personal "problems" need to be kept separate and the latter viewed only in passing if at all. Indeed, the arguments seem to take their point of departure on the issue of whether talent alone should be the focus of such discussions or should a slightly more holistic view be taken. Not an easy question and one for which the answer does not come easily.

As a matter of truth in advertising, I admit up front to being among those with difficulties when it comes to Senna. Apparently, this a small minority and, understandably, not a very vocal one.

This thread leads off with a statement which Denis Jenkinson used to close something he called THE "Formula One Scene" in the April 1991 issue of Motor Sport. He also includes this sentence: "But like Senna or not, no-one can deny he has remarkable driving talent." This is a fair enough statement, but one that also gets into the heart of the subject at hand.

For the sake of consistency, I decided to use Motor Sport as my point of departure. As many are aware, the Japanese Grands Prix of 1989 and 1990 are still among the more notable rounds in the annals of the FIA F1 World Championship. In 1989, Prost became the Champion after a coming together with Senna and then in 1990 the roles were reversed, Senna getting the crown as the result of a crash involving Prost.

Here is what was written in the December 1990 issue by DSJ:

But it was not to be, for exactly 9.2 seconds after the start of the Japanese Grand Prix Prost and Senna collided and the FIA's 'sacred' World Championship ended in a cloud of dust as the Ferrari and the McLaren spun of across the wide run-off area of the first corner. While the marshals cleared the wreckage out of the way Senna walked back to the pits as the 1990 World Champion, and Prost prepared a whingeing campaign that was to continue for two weeks.

If you have always viewed the World Championship as a bit of a farce, or at least since 1958 when Stirling Moss was not World Champion as I have, this unhappy ending to the 1990 Championship was about par ofr the course. Since October 21st when the 'the world and his wife' saw what they thought happened in those critical 9.2 seconds on television they have been joined by 'every man and his dog' in taking sides, explaining what happened, making judgement on both drivers and banging on about the rights and wrongs of the incident which appeared to be a motor racing accident that was all over in a few seconds, as was the Japanese Grand Prix for the media and the casual observer.


DSJ responded with "Alberto Ascai, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Gilles Villeneuve, and Ayrton Senna" when asked for his list of great drivers -- which he defined as those he actually saw in action and knew. This basically is the extent with which the issue is ever addressed by DSJ. Part of the reason is clear from his remarks about the WDC, but the true menace to Society at that time -- indeed, for the remainder of his life -- in DSJ's worldview was the issue of "fakes."

Whereas DSJ passed from making much comment on the collison at Suzuka, the editor "WB" -- William "Bill" Boddy -- headlined his "Matters of Moment" this way: Bang-on Champion.

Here are excerpts from that editorial:

Ayrton Senna is one of the top F1 drivers, perhaps the greatest of all time, and few will wish to deny him the 1990 World Championship; the pity is that it went out with a bang, of the unwanted kind, at Suzuka. A bang that will line on in motor racing history and continue to be discussed and argued about for a very long time.

Did Prost deliberately 'shut the door' on his rival or did he have a right to that crucial first corner? Surely Senna did not clinch the Championship by deliberately ramming Prost?

....What was unfair was that, in a post-race discussion of the dramatic Senna/Prost coming-together on British TV, Senna gave his views and later Ron Dennis was in the BBC studio, but not Prost nor Ferrari-Fiat.

In today's racing 'closing the door' on a rival has become commonplace but it does lead to too many shunts while the very safe modern cockpits prevent a driver from injury in most cases and so perhaps encourage this habit, one has to consider how much pursuit of Championship points promotes such driving methods. It happened to Prost and Senna last year and has already done so to many lesser drivers; how many shunts has Senna had? F1 racing must not take on the mantle of a Saturday night's stock car bumping match at the local stadium! Such random thoughts occur after considering how this year's World Drivers' Championship ended with a bang.

But nevertheless, congratulations Senna.


Up to this point, the 1989/1990 season, I was rather inclined to agree with most about Senna and thought that perhaps he was indeed the genuine article. Certainly, the various squabbles and so forth off the track raised an eyebrow a tad, but only a tad. Although not following F1 very closely at this point, I tended to think that the great Prost/Senna rivalry was becoming more of a liability than an asset with the slicing across the track and the collision at Suzuka in 1989 symptoms of a serious problem in F1 -- I tended to blame that most convenient of stooges, J-M Balestre, rather than Senna or Prost.

But, my opinion started to change after the 1990 Suzuka collision. I watched the start on TV and barely had the announcer said something to the effect that if Prost wrecked at the first corner the Championship was Senna's when exactly that happened! To my disbelieving eyes, it appeared that Senna simply ran Prost off the road. The replays convinced me more and more that my first impression was correct.

I was amazed, bewildered, and a bit dumbfounded. The 1989 incident was so much like a true racing accident that I was inclined to see it that way, although I tended to think that the fault lay more with Senna than Prost, although it was the aftermath that tended to shade my opinion towards it being a racing accident -- that Balestre and the FISA handled the disqualification so poorly was, as DSJ said, "par for the course."

Whatever large seeds of doubt were planted at Suzuka in 1989 and 1990 sprang into full flower at Suzuka in 1991. It was at this point that my opinion about Senna became completely colored and any consideration of his obvious driving talent became at best secondary. His tirade at the press conference only confirmed what I had already begun to believe -- albeit with the greatest of reluctance -- about the true nature of the matter.

The correspondent sent by Motor Sport (December 1991) to the 1991 Japanese GP, was "DJT" -- David Tremayne. I will spare you the blow-by-blow which appears there on pages 1100 & 1101, but after both catching part of what he said on TV and then reading that (and other information on what Senna said that day), Senna was toast in my book. Here is a quotation from Senna:

.... So I said to myself, 'Alright, tomorrow I'll tell the EXPLETIVE DELETED truth, the 100 per cent truth.' If Sunday at the start, because I am in the wrong position, Prost gets the jump and beats me off the line, at the first corner I'll go for it. And he had better not turn in, because he's not gonna make it. And it just happened, I guess. I just wish it didn't happen. I really wished that I could have had the start, because then we could go and go. It's unbelieveable taht it had to happen. He got the jump and he was turning in and I hit him. We were both off and it was a shit end of championship. It was not good for Formula One. It was the result of the wrong decisions and partially from the people inside that make the decisons. I won the championship, so what?


Keep in mind that the issue that Senna is discussing that of J-M Balestre to not relocate the pole position at Suzuka.

Here is what DJT wrote in the paragraph immediately following the comments above:

At no point did it appear to strike him that it was also a badend to the championship for Prost, nor that his red mist, fit of pique, temper tantrum, call it what you will, might not only have endangered the pair of them, but also 24 drivers following them into the corner. Nor did he mention what might have happened later in the race had he led and Prost tried to overtake.


I took a few a steps back, took a closer look at Senna in light of what he said and came away not so much disillusioned, but wondering why I had failed to notice it before. Senna was a master of controlling a press conference. As mentioned by DJT, several who were initially pointing the finger at Senna at Suzuka -- John Watson being one of them -- were by Adelaide pinning the whole fault on Prost.

So, there you are. While virtually everyone on the Earth will agree with my opinion about Senna, at least you have an inkling of an idea where it came from. At this point, any talent -- regardless of how wonderful and so forth, becomes irrelevant. To me, Senna was beyond the pale and excommunicated from my realm of consideration.

Balestre and the FISA -- actually Max Mosley since he had just beaten JMB for the presidency -- completely dropped the ball and let Senna off the hook and get away with what he did scot-free. Had he been punished or shown remorse or something other than "...so what?" perhaps my opinion whould be different. But he didn't and so be it.

I actually prepared this as a Rear View Mirror column, but decided that perhaps discretion was the better part of valor. So, since opinions are indeed like body orifices and we all have them, this is mine. It would be nice to have a civilized discussion about Senna for once. He was certainly a sinner, but by no means a lost soul. He did indeed do much in his native country which warrants praise. He was certainly a man of great talent in an F1 car, but "...so what?"

Interesting how I keep coming back to that quotation from DSJ that I led off with and find myself nodding.....

Advertisement

#2 mhferrari

mhferrari
  • Member

  • 3,238 posts
  • Joined: August 00

Posted 10 September 2001 - 23:43

F1 racing must not take on the mantle of a Saturday night's stock car bumping match at the local stadium!


It is quite ironic you say this after this week's stock car race.

I will state it again that I do not like Senna's sportsmanship from 1989 and 1990 and thought it quite unfortunate for the sport. But I do think highly of him as a Grand Prix driver and think he did have sizeable competition throughout his eleven years of Grand Prix racing.

I do also agree it should be more a civil arguement on both sides. I do not like the point of opinions and how you think of them, though.

#3 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 11 September 2001 - 00:02

Oh, Don, just the other day in the chatroom, after I've caught up with my brother (who's, BTW, gone overseas in search of better life), I lingered around a bit (as is my wont). At one point I, somewhat bluntly and not at all agreeably, stated my mind on Senna da Silva. But the anticipated skirmish (me being massacred, that is- I do enjoy a good fight against the odds, not unlike my idol ;)) did not happen, all the people present (I shall not name any names, lest someone from RC sees that, and then neither them, nor their families or houses are safe ;)) expressed same opinions. To quote someone from Your signature- of a truth thou should'st have been with me.;) We even got the idea about starting the 'Club of People Who Aren't All That Impressed By Senna, And Are Not Afraid To Say So', but things got a bit out of controll then, humour (not in the sense of mood ;)) of darker shades of black taking over.

To sum it up- WE'RE NOT ALONE!

#4 Bernd

Bernd
  • Member

  • 3,307 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 11 September 2001 - 00:13

"DSJ responded with "Alberto Ascai, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Gilles Villeneuve, and Ayrton Senna" when asked for his list of great drivers -- which he defined as those he actually saw in action and knew. This basically is the extent with which the issue is ever addressed by DSJ."

Actually he did go a little bit further in a later article. Here's a snippet from memory. "Jim Clark was probably the greatest driver who ever lived but he never knew why" I think it was an article about Race Drivers in general... It is reprinted in Jenks. A Passion for Motorsport

This is definately as far as Jenks ever went.

I join you chaps in the Senna :down: Club. I remember being spellbound by his ability the many times I saw him drive, but as a man he left me cold... He was a great driver but not a 'GREAT' in my opinion.

#5 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 11 September 2001 - 00:18

OT- any clue as to why he left one Juan Manuel Fangio from that list? I know it was discussed some time ago, but still... From what I've gathered, Jenks thought very highly (to say the least) of him. :confused:

#6 Bernd

Bernd
  • Member

  • 3,307 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 11 September 2001 - 00:24

Wolfy Jenks certainly thought Fangio was a true master and superior to Moss in Formula 1. However he regarded Moss as a better all round driver and with his own experiences driving with Moss and being astonished by his ability it really is a no-brainer that Stirling would be on his list.

As for Ascari he was just plain astonishingly quick. I myself have always ranked Alberto on par with Juan in my lists much to the bafflement and even scorn of other learned F1 Disciples.

#7 prettyface

prettyface
  • Member

  • 3,029 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 11 September 2001 - 00:54

It's so refreshing to be able to read these healthy reflexions on Senna. Clearly he was no saint, neither was the professor; but the way things seem to be going in Brazil, he's ending up as some sort of religious figure. I don't live there, and only saw it on a TV special, but it seems people are already asking "spiritual favours" ouf of him, and burning candles and stuff in rituals and... you get the idea. If it can happen here in Venezuela with a bloody early-20th century dictator who already has "miracles" and followers; imagine what it will become in Brazil where spirituality is so much more part of the culture.

And you people complain about people on this BB! :lol:

#8 Hans Etzrodt

Hans Etzrodt
  • Member

  • 3,172 posts
  • Joined: July 00

Posted 11 September 2001 - 09:25

Don,
Thank you for thought-provoking story, which placed Senna besides the throne, not on the top. He might have been a 'flawed' genius or an egotistic maniac; I don’t really care since I had never been one of his followers. The same goes for M. Schumacher, who has demonstrated on the track identical antics as Senna and shows similar character flaws. Andretti, Clark or Ascari – any time!

#9 Joe Fan

Joe Fan
  • Member

  • 5,591 posts
  • Joined: December 98

Posted 11 September 2001 - 09:48

Jenks was one of the truly great writers of our time. Usually, any praise you got from him was justified. However, I wouldn't form an opinion on a driver just because he said something negative about them. He had a few a favorites and had a disliking for a few drivers that was probably related from personal dealings with them.

As far as Senna, great driver but whenever people proclaim him as the greatest driver of all-time, it is almost seems offensive to me. There are things about Senna's persona that I admire but I have no admiration for open wheel drivers who carry the attitude, blink first going into a corner or we could both die. His mentality and driving style would have been better suited trading paint with Dale Earnhardt in the Winston Cup series. There, I would have less problem with his style.

#10 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 11 September 2001 - 10:34

Here's a Moss quote from his recent interview published (where else but) on AtlasF1:
Motor racing is no longer a sport. It's just an incredibly interesting business. The camaraderie has gone. I'm sure the chaps today would have behaved like us, if they had been racing 40 years ago; but I hate to think if we were around today, we would behave like them.

#11 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 23,853 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 11 September 2001 - 11:31

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
Don,
Thank you for thought-provoking story, which placed Senna besides the throne, not on the top. He might have been a 'flawed' genius or an egotistic maniac; I don’t really care since I had never been one of his followers. The same goes for M. Schumacher, who has demonstrated on the track identical antics as Senna and shows similar character flaws. Andretti, Clark or Ascari – any time!


I couldn't have put it better myself, Hans - exactly my feelings about both ...

#12 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 11 September 2001 - 12:24

JYS stated that in his time there were same unscrupulous maneuvres on the track, but that no one knows because there were no TV cameras around. Do you beleive it? No? neither do I.
Senna is personally responsible for turning a sport into what it is today, with his "win at whatever cost" attitude, then taken for granted by most younger followers, including certain German driver. It makes him one of most important persons in racing history, even if he destroyed "sport" part of motorsport like we knew and liked it.
But I personally think same thing would happen to F1 even w/o Senna - similar moves happened in most other popular sports (basketball, athletics, football...) in last 20 years - there is less sportmanship anywhere where money came in. It is more to blame Bernie than poor old Ayrton...

#13 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 11 September 2001 - 13:36

DMJ- nobody exempts F1 establishment from its fair share of the blame, but noone expected it from them to set moral standfards high in the first place- it should've been the drivers who were expected to do so.;)

BTW, under pain of being missunderstood- wasn't ol' Tazio involved in one incident where he caused an accident (far be it from me to assume he did it on purpose), and ignored black flag afterwards?

And in the ol' days there could've been incidents, but they were certainly not generally accepted modus operandi for a GP driver (just look at the list of todays drivers using, or approving of, dangerous manoevres on the track)...

#14 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 11 September 2001 - 13:52

Well, Wolf, that's just what I said - sadly Senna started that trend but I am convinced it would happen without him.
An interesting point: how much Damon Hill's unability to pass others had to do with his lack of skills and how much with his understandable fear of other's unscrupulous defending of position - I regard Damon as a gentleman and a driver who really belonged to another era... Not a great driver but a true driver of old style.

#15 MPea3

MPea3
  • Member

  • 2,143 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 11 September 2001 - 14:18

chris amon in an interview once was discussing the '70 GP at spa, where he was delayed by a slower car who was limping back to the pits, and as a result was passed shortly thereafter by pedro rodriguez. he mentioned how he didn't attempt to block or defend his position, and as i remember the article, it was apparent that in that time of racing you simply didn't intentionally put your own or other's lives at risk in that way, as the consequences were simply too grave. while there may have been some "unscrupulous" behavior in that time as suggested by JYS, i doubt that it was of the sort as seen in the senna/prost, MS/DH, and MS/JV incidents.

#16 calissa

calissa
  • New Member

  • 17 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 16 September 2001 - 18:59

dmj , your last sentence is great :cool: this is the best comment on DH I've ever read

#17 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 17 September 2001 - 08:04

Thank you, calissa. I'm happy (if I can say after such a terrible week) with yesterday's race in Monza. Not just because of JPM's win but also because of Ralf's manners when his brother and Barichello overtook him - he could close the doors to obviously faster cars but he didn't. A strange behaviour in modern F1, but the right, Amon-like one.

#18 klipywitz

klipywitz
  • Member

  • 846 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 17 September 2001 - 08:58

Hello, some quick points.

On Senna's character:

Senna is often blamed for his sincerity regarding this incident. I, for one, would go the other way: he came out and said it. Prost, another great driver, was way more cunning and conniving than Senna, but always maintained his workings in secret -- and never owned up to them. Although I dont support the "an eye for an eye" approach, I do like the fact that Senna came out and said what he thought -- something Prost would never done for fear of bad PR. His weakness, it seems then, was indeed one of his strenghts.

On Senna's character (part II):

Some of my friends had the chance to interact with Senna a couple of times, and he proved to be a man of character (in their respected opinion); he would not, however, tolerate things he thought were wrong -- he would act on it.

On Schumacker:

Hey, Schumacker, in my opinion, is more controlling and amoral than Senna was -- I would dare say he is even more manipulative than Prost was. Yet, because he doesnt voice his true thoughts (seem by the way he drives and holds his word about driving sometimes), and does a great PR show, nobody speaks badly of him as some tend to do about Ayrton.

On Prost:

Another great racer. He has had problems with other drivers before though, such as Piquet -- who would also not back down. Great inside a car, Prost was also very, very shrewd. Most people seem to forget that, without the previous year's "accident" (Prost's), Senna would not have had "his".


On Senna as a Religion:

Err, I never heard of people burning candles TO Senna asking for "favors"; perhaps you misconstrued things -- perhaps they were burning candles FOR him (as in remembrance, etc). I asked my Brazilian friends as well, and they never heard of it either.

In short: these guys are not saints -- they are extremely competitive people, which they must be to arrive at that level of performance. The difference is how they deal with their choices: some talk about it, some dont talk about it, some lie about it. To be is, after all as Berkeley said, to be perceived.

#19 Kpy

Kpy
  • Member

  • 1,188 posts
  • Joined: February 01

Posted 17 September 2001 - 10:53

Originally posted by klipywitz


On Senna's character:

Senna is often blamed for his sincerity regarding this incident. I, for one, would go the other way: he came out and said it. Prost, another great driver, was way more cunning and conniving than Senna, but always maintained his workings in secret -- and never owned up to them. Although I dont support the "an eye for an eye" approach, I do like the fact that Senna came out and said what he thought -- something Prost would never done for fear of bad PR. His weakness, it seems then, was indeed one of his strenghts.


With the greatest respect, this is 100% not true. Senna himself admitted that he deliberately drove into the back of Prost to show how upset he was that Balestre had not given in to his (Senna's) demands that the grid should be altered to give him the "clean" side of the track. It took him a year to admit it and when he did he used a gread deal of the foulest language in trying to pin the moral blame on Balestre. Senna caused a huge accident which could have killed or injured other drivers, marshals, or even spectators. He didn't consider that, due to his huge ego problem. The man was a superb driver and a lousy human being.
And where you get the idea that Prost was wary of "bad PR", I've no idea - he was sacked by Ferrari for telling the truth about the car !!

Most people seem to forget that, without the previous year's "accident" (Prost's), Senna would not have had "his".


Oh!! So it was Prost's fault that Senna deliberately drove into him!! Bollix.

Advertisement

#20 Chico Landi

Chico Landi
  • Member

  • 155 posts
  • Joined: June 01

Posted 17 September 2001 - 14:50

As a brazilian, and an active member of a brazilian forum, I already received some awful treats when I spoke my mind about Senna: a good racing driver, not a GREAT one.

Anyway, I read recently this english book called 'The Death of Ayrton Senna' and though I was astonished about how the author praises his 'I'm always right no matter how wrong I act' caracter, it was interesting to find some lines from his early F-Ford rivals that his tactics has always been these: throwing the car againt the other competitors whenever is convenient.

His caracter is disgusting, IMO, and I'm simply horrified that lots of people in Brazil regard him as a national hero and a role example for children.

#21 MattC

MattC
  • Member

  • 178 posts
  • Joined: October 99

Posted 18 September 2001 - 15:49

You members of the club have got it easy - abuse on a bulletin board is nothing.

My GF is a HUGE Senna fan, whereas i am not. Unfortunately, she has a 2sq.m. poster of him mounted in a heavy glass frame, which used to hang over her bed, threatening to crash down on me whenever I had contrary thoughts.
Moving house was the only solution.

Matt
p.s. I too admire Senna's sincerity in explaing his motives. I don't agree at all with his motives, but at least he spoke his mind. Some of his successors are far more political creatures...
pp.s. Although I think he lowered standards of sporstmanship by his actions, it is worth observing that since his passing we have had THREE WDCs with admirable ethics IMHO.

#22 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 18 September 2001 - 18:37

MattC- I think You're lucky to have GF interested in the sport, even if You have different tastes.. :)

BTW, don't you just love the way da Silva blamed Balestre for Suzuka incident? :lol:

#23 unrepentant lurker

unrepentant lurker
  • Member

  • 347 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 18 September 2001 - 18:53

Well, here is a definate group of people who will be sure to get into the world premiere of the Antonio Banderabas "Senna" movie.:p

#24 josh.lintz

josh.lintz
  • Member

  • 149 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 19 September 2001 - 00:28

I didn't really respect Senna until 1992; then again, how much fun would these racing drivers be if they didn't have some sort of fault? Senna was an incredible talent, and I am fortunate to have at least witness him perform his craft on television in my lifetime. I think he also had an incredible bunch of competitors during his time in F1, too. That says a lot about his talent, don't you think?

#25 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 19 September 2001 - 01:32

Josh, I don't think any of us are questioning his ability, but his modus operandi...;)

#26 desmo

desmo
  • Tech Forum Host

  • 12,840 posts
  • Joined: January 00

Posted 19 September 2001 - 05:43

Those incidents cited did indeed force me to reconsider Ayrton's true standing as a driver. I find it hard to be too critical though as I derived great pleasure watching him drive. He was the ultimate competitor. His successes and failings seemed products of this.

#27 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 5,999 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 19 September 2001 - 18:14

I will not try to justify Senna's actions at Suzuka in 1990 because I don't know exactly what happened. Those events are already the stuff of legend; far too may writers have repeated what others have written, without taking the trouble to research exactly what happened, what people said and the context within which they said it.

I also try never to assess a person's character by the view the popular media give. most writers appear to start with an initial view of the person they write about and distortion, deliberate or otherwise is far too easy. Very few writers take the trouble, or have the opportunity to really research their subjects.

I do find it interesting that Sid Watkins, in his book "Life at the Limit" devotes considerable space to his friendship with, and admiration for, Senna. Watkins strikes me as a shrewd judge of character, and one who has his enthiasm for the off-track character and intelligence of many racing drivers well under control. I am inclined to give considerable weight to his views.

I believe it is indiputable that Senna was a very great racing driver. To me, that is enough to make him an interesting character, and aman about whom I want to know more. His approach was uncompromising, but that is usually an attribute I admire in a racing driver. It may be that by the standards of earlier generations he was too uncompromising.

Let the historians assess his character, his actions and his statements in the context of his time; was his attitude really different from all his predecessors, or was he a continuation of a trend? Above all, let us beware of univerally accepted facts; if the popular media are in agreement about the description of any event , you can be almost sure that that description is wrong.

#28 Gordo

Gordo
  • Member

  • 30 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 19 September 2001 - 19:11

"Many times over the last couple of years I have opened the door to him. If I hadn't done, then we would have crashed like today. But before the race here, I said that I was not going to leave the door open any longer. And see what happened." Alain Prost 1989

#29 oldtimer

oldtimer
  • Member

  • 1,291 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 19 September 2001 - 19:41

I'm not too sure that ramming other people, either intentionally or otherwise, and Senna did both, is 'uncompromising' racing.

I seem to remember reading about Fangio making it very clear about which piece of tarmac he was going to be using, and I saw a small example at Silverstone in 1956. When Hawthorn was asked why he moved over for Fangio when he was on his great charge at the Nurburgring in 1957, he replied that he felt that if he hadn't moved over, 'the old bugger would have driven right over me'.

That sounds more like 'uncompromising' to me.

#30 berge

berge
  • Member

  • 1,554 posts
  • Joined: May 01

Posted 23 September 2001 - 01:20

Better to get from the horse's mouth what Senna was REALLY like.



http://ourworld.comp...uler/senna2.htm