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F1 History 27

Motor Sport Senna evening podcast

Motor Sport hosted a special evening in London on June 6 as a group of our enthusiastic readers joined us for a private viewing of the stunning new Ayrton Senna film.

history  Motor Sport Senna evening podcast

We were honoured to be joined by the movie’s producer Manish Pandey and former McLaren team coordinator Jo Ramirez, the man who somehow managed to remain friends with both Senna and Alain Prost during their incendiary two years as team-mates in 1988-89.

This is the full, unedited, recording of the open discussion after the film which included Jo, Manish, our editor-in-chief Nigel Roebuck and features editor Rob Widdows. We apologise for the sound – it was recorded live!

history  Motor Sport Senna evening podcast

Do let us know your thoughts and keep checking the website for upcoming readers’ evenings. We’ll be doing plenty more.

Add your comments

27 comments on Motor Sport Senna evening podcast

  1. Angus, 15 June 2011 16:22

    Should I see the film before watching the discussion? He was my hero after Ronnie Peterson.

  2. john miller, 15 June 2011 18:06

    I always thought that having Senna as your hero was akin to reading Tom Brown’s Schooldays and plumping for Flashman.

    Then again, didn’t somebody make a hero out of Flashman?

    Anyway, if you were born before 1970, make up your own mind.

    Given the current censure of poor young Hamilton – and considering Lauda’s remarks – I would have to point out that unlike Senna and his metaphorical sibling, Schumacher, Lewis has not indulged in manoeuvers which may have killed someone in a racing car.

    So, no, I have no admiration for Senna as a racing driver, and, since I never knew him personally, I have no opinion on his personal qualities.

  3. Jack Holt, 15 June 2011 18:34

    Hear! Hear! John Miller. I’m baffled by a film which purports to be a documentary, yet cares nothing for balance. I’ve no interest in watching something which traduces Prost in order to paint an undeserving halo over his nemesis.

    As a huge Hamilton fan I think you’re spot on – Hamilton, for all his faults, has never made a cynical move against an opponent – that’s what separates him from drivers such as Schumacher and Senna.

  4. Michael Spitale, 15 June 2011 18:47

    BEST PODCAST EVER!!!! I love hearing these old stories from Nigel and Jo Ramirez

  5. john read, 15 June 2011 23:56

    Well John Miller, I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I nominate you for the 2011 Wet Blanket award.
    Anyway, I was lucky enough to be at Adelaide ’93 seated in the esses, and Senna was an absolute standout that weekend. As was said in the excellent podcast, he seemed to be driving the car faster than it could be driven.
    I am off to see the movie this weekend in Sydney and very much looking forward to it.

  6. Graham Coles, 16 June 2011 11:35

    Excellent panel interview/discussion. Pity you can’t do a deal with one of the specialist non-pay TV channels and televise a regular series with Nigel, Rob et al.

    Then again, too many candid opinions might not make for a great career path !

  7. Graham Coles, 16 June 2011 11:38

    Actually, come to think about it why bother with TV. Just do a series of video podcasts instead of just sound.
    Great for ipod sessions on long flights

  8. Joel M, 16 June 2011 12:32

    A brilliant podcast. The one I have enjoyed most. I learnt things about Senna that I didn’t already know.

  9. iain, 16 June 2011 14:40

    The film is a little harsh on Alain but not as much as I had feared and with such an impassioned personality as Senna the more clinical Prost is bound to come across as a little Machievellian.
    Having said that I don’t think either Alain nor Prost fans in general should be sour about this, history is the judge of all and Alains place is assured without danger of tainting.

    If you are a motor racing fan you MUST see this film, even if you’re not a Senna fan.
    At the end of the day its a very truthful account of what happened in those years and very poignant, I dont think there where many dry eyes in the house towards the end of the screening I went to see. Even if we all know how the film ends there was that awful palpable tension building as the film unfolded much as there was that awful weekend in Imola 17 years ago.
    Ultimately it is a film about one mans quest to be the best he can at his chosen proffesion and how that quest almost devours him and all that become involved, a very complex man to be sure but simply driven to be the best and what becomes more and more apparent as the film unfolds (and indeed as time passes over the years) is that Senna could not have become who he was without Prost. Two men struggling with themselves as much as each other as this intense battle brought out not only the very best in both but also perhaps, at times, the worst.

  10. Michael Spitale, 16 June 2011 15:43

    iain…. I too have heard it is very pro/positive Senna and many claim it leaves out the dark side of Senna which everyone knows about. You can tell by hearing the director talk he Senna is his hero so I did not expect to see him put Senna in a negative light… can’t wait to see it

  11. dave cubbedge, 16 June 2011 16:01

    I just hope I get to see it here in the US….something tells me maybe in large markets, but where I live most of the theaters are closed.

    excellent podcast once again though. I must admit I was never a Senna fan until Donington 1993 – that season proved to me he was something special winning five GPs in a car that was not the best. The scar of Suzuka ’89 and ’90 still clouds my opinion of the man….I would have much rather seen him win in 1990 in a fair fight with Prost.

  12. martin tomlinson, 16 June 2011 16:18

    The film is excellent! The director’s portrayal of Senna is obviously based on his view of the man. Not everyone will have the same view (myself being one of them). But that’s what art is all about – the artist (director) making a statement.

    If we disagree then so be it, but this shouldn’t distract from the amazing footage and the storyline.

  13. Michael Spitale, 16 June 2011 18:36

    After hearing this I think a great podcast would be simply hearing Nigel and Rob tell some of thier favortie F1 stories through the years… They have seen and heard things we as fans could never get access to….

  14. Nigel (not that one), 16 June 2011 19:21

    Michael: I’d love a tyrrell podcast, there must be tons of stories about Uncle Ken!!

  15. Ray T, 16 June 2011 20:26

    I can’t get over the image of Senna listening to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive” repeatedly -apparently his inspirational song.
    I doubt this film will make it to theaters in Canada, I’ll have to wait for the DVD.

  16. Michael Spitale, 16 June 2011 22:15

    you can get the DVD in the States if you belong to NETFLIX

  17. Tony Geran, 17 June 2011 01:42

    Worthwhile listening to just for Manish Pandey’s description of Schumacher’s Benneton’s behaviour at Imola that weekend. Looking forward to seeing the film in Sydney this weekend.

  18. Lindsay, 17 June 2011 03:28

    Hello from the US (but not from the US Government).

    This is one of the best podcasts I have ever heard, nevermind one of you guys’ best. I’ve been listening to your podcasts since the beginning and this one is one my favorites. Gilles is my favorite driver, so hearing stories of him dropped into your podcasts is always nice, but the Senna-related content in here, though I had heard most of the stories before, was so enjoyable to listen to.


  19. rob widdows, 17 June 2011 08:58

    Thank you very much everyone for your interesting, and varied, responses to our discussion following the screening of the Senna film. I do like seeing people from all over the world coming together to share their
    views on a subject that fascinates us all, and has done since Ayrton Senna da Silva first sppeared in a Formula Ford race in England. I remember the occasion well. He was quite shy, spoke haltingly in English and was VERY serious about his racing!
    Yes, we’d love to do a TV series, or an internet video series, and we are actually trying to find some kind of commercial support for this. Some progress has been made and we will hopefully be able to do more of this kid of thing once we have a bigger budget.
    Our next podcast will be with Karun Chandhok who, as many of you know, is an intelligent and articulate person. It is also timely as we have the first ever Indian GP later this year.
    Nigel and I will think about a Tyrrell programme, I agree, it could be a good subject. LOTS of grat stories there, I can tell you!

  20. Martin Lyons, 17 June 2011 20:24

    What an interesting evening! Having read Jo’s Book & then “Tales from the Toolbox” it is an era that is sadly past. I remember watching Ayrton for the 1st time at Brands Hatch May 8th 1983. In practise he aimed his Ralt at the marshalls post at the top of Paddock Hill every time. I felt sorry for the marshalls, convinced that the consequences of an accident would be fatal for all parties concerned. However the longer I watched the more I became mesmerized by the commitment & skill of the person I was watching; history ( for me) was being made.

  21. Hoot, 19 June 2011 19:53

    Thank you. It’d be icing on the cake if these were videos too, like the Motorsport weeklies.

  22. Richard, 22 June 2011 18:09

    Very good podcast, the one I’ve enjoyed the most so far. I picked up a copy of Jo Ramirez’s book recently, I think I will have to read it again now I can put a voice to the words.

    It’s a pity there isn’t likely to be any extra racing footage as DVD/Blu-Ray extras, the footage in the film was very well put together and there must be so many untold stories lurking in Bernie’s archives.

  23. John Truslove, 23 June 2011 17:41

    I believe that sometime during his karting days Ayrton started to think he was truly gifted behind the wheel.His unaltered respect for Terry Fullerton [and,I guess Mickey Allen] was because here was someone Ayrton acknowleged as his only equal in terms of pure racing[untainted by politics].
    Fairly early in his motor racing career,I believe he felt that he was better than anyone else and all the other drivers were simply there to make up the numbers.
    Who honestly can doubt his judgment?
    The Senna film,which is fantastic [i did shut my eyes for a few Imola minutes] was given additional depth and colour by Alain Prost and General De Gaulle [reincarnated as Monsieur Balestre] but they and,honestly,everyone else are bit players to someone whose like I truly think we will never see again.
    As an aside,Lewis is Ayrtons natural successor in attitude and application.Believe me,neither of them would deliberately harm a fellow competitor.

  24. Bob Elwin, 24 June 2011 17:29

    In case anyone reading this is in Vancouver BC, the film is playing at the Vancity Theatre at 6.30pm on Sunday 26th June. Looking forward to it!!

  25. Peter Mann, 24 June 2011 23:21

    Sorry to be a really wet blanket, but I thought the Senna film a great disappointment – apart from a very brief description (from what sounded like fresh commentary rather than a clip from the past as the producers claim the film to be all about), there was nothing about why Senna was an outstanding driver.

    Where, for instance, in the film is there an analysis of how he drove the car? Where was the discussion about why he managed so many poles? Why where there no graphics showing the lines he took in the wet compared to everyone else?

    And all that stuff about what a good bloke he was back home? Yes, to be mentioned in passing, but it had nothing to do with him as a racing driver – and it’s as a racing driver that he was admired the world over. Does Hamilton compare himself to Senna as a philanthropist or as a racing driver? It was just there as a sop to the Senna family in order to get the film made.

    And if that wasn’t bad enough, the honing in on the political issues with Balestre (is he still alive?) and the ‘Prost is a rat’ attitude of the film were also misplaced.

    A film about a great driver like Senna, while not necessarily ignoring the Prost / Balestre issues, should have concentrated on his skill and artistry behind the wheel, on what made him so special and and above all why he was a winner.

    Yes, every motor racing fan needs to see the film – after all there are precious few big time motor racing films around – but be prepared to be disappointed by a poorly thought though production. I wondered as I left what DSJ would have thought…

  26. Paul Redding, 9 July 2011 15:13

    I am actually half-way bewteen some of the comments on here. Until seeing the movie at this event, Senna was a unique individual in both personality and skill. Much of this remains however the film did present me a dark side to his character and I do agree the Prost positioning was quite unnecessarily biased. As with John Read, I also saw Senna in action at Adelaide and the anticipation waiting for him with miuntes to spare to put in the one fast lap was electrifying – I can still visualise the timing ‘tree’ to this day. So it was with mixed feelings I left the theatre that night; many thanks to Jo ramirez fro signing my hardcover copy of his book – a highly recommended read. I still think the definitive documentary of Senna is staill to be made – with alot more of his skill and fast laps/qualifying to be included. In fact – I would say that the Season with McLaren series broadcast by the BBC in 1993 is probably a better production than this film for true Senna fans.

  27. Paulo Vianna, 1 November 2013 17:32

    As Niki Lauda said, Senna was the BEST DRIVER THAT EVER LIVED ON THIS PLANET !

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