Honda evoke ghost of Senna in haunting video
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jul 2013   |  8:04 am GMT  |  66 comments

Here is something a little different: Honda, which is gearing up for a return to F1 in 2015, has made a commercial in Japan featuring acoustic technology which allows them to recreate Senna’s pole lap at Suzuka from 1989.

It’s eery and exciting and shows amazing ambition.

Using a system of speakers and lights set up around the length of the 5.8 kilometre circuit, they made a piece of sound and light magic, which gives a flavour of the way they plan to approach their return to F1.

The messaging behind the commercial is all about the power of data and connectivity in the new generation of road cars; a huge topic in the automotive world at the moment and one where F1 can play its part with Innovations coming through telemetry and data transfer.

It sets Honda’s stall out very nicely at this early stage. They will lean on their stunning heritage with McLaren and Senna, but they will also be all about cutting edge technology in 21st century F1.

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  1. moxlox says:

    Wow that’s awesome…and a little freaky!

    I note they used the 1989 normally aspirated engine sound and telemetry and not the 1988 turbo Honda……what was Bernie saying about the new engine sounds (yes not really a connection between an ’88 turbo config and a 2014 turbo)?!

    1. Nick says:

      You’d make a fantastic magician’s assistant forever revolving on a human dartboard missing the point

      1. GravelRash says:

        Nick your on fire !!!……got any more of those…..sensational

        for the record i thought it was cool

      2. Dazza says:

        No, I think he got the point. He added a point of his own on a different, although linked, subject.

      3. moxlox says:

        Nick may have revolved through one too many doors there and missed the point himself. But as his reply was so wonderfully crafted I’ll take the heat!

        I did say it was awesome after all!

  2. Dave P says:

    Wow an incredible idea… Good Luck Honda and McLaren !

  3. Lindsay says:

    What’s with the pain inducing high pitched tones?

    The worst part is that someone programmed that horrible noise, it wasn’t an accident.

    1. Ash says:

      Wow, seriously? You watch a cleaver and nostalgic video, and all you can do is complain?? That’s very unfortunate for you. Just appreciate it for what it is!!!

      At the very least, turn down the treble and crank up the bass on your speakers.

  4. AMSG says:

    So will they just refer back to the old McLaren days and sweep their own more recent team efforts under the carpet ??

    1. Optimaximal says:

      Why wouldn’t they? Apart from the good performance in 2004′s BAR, Honda were ultimately a bit of a non-event in F1 since their McLaren days.

      Glad they bankrolled Brawn though. :)

      1. AMSG says:

        But I did love the TV ad with the power boat, bike, plane and F1 car. Soundtrack was good. Must try and find it on youtube.

      2. JimmiC says:

        The song is The Impossible Dream by Sammy Davis Jr if you’re looking for a download. I believe the entire, five or so minute long, ad is on YouTube somewhere.

      3. OscarF1 says:

        That was really a god one.
        You’ll find it under “Impossible Dream”. There’s also a v2

      4. OJ says:

        Actually it was by Andy Williams.

  5. JPS says:

    Very cool.

  6. Olivier says:

    Amazing tribute to an amazing racing driver.

  7. Mic says:

    Shivers down the spine.

    1. tank says:

      …arm hair standing on end!

  8. Random 79 says:

    Short (as you would expect) but without a doubt one of the most amazing things I have ever seen :)

  9. Simon says:

    It’s just a shame that James Allison won’t be working with them.

  10. expatpom says:

    Fantastic! :) Grin on my face James – you always come up with the great stuff – Thank-you!

  11. JK says:

    It says that (in Japanese) Honda conquered F1 by introducing telemetry to F1 in the 80′s, and by analysing the telemetry data (engine movement and accelerator movement) from Senna’s Pole grabbing lap of Suzuka GP qualifying of 1989, it was translated into sound and light to create this spectacle.

    James, in the video Honda says that they conquered F1 by bringing telemetry. It is a short sentence, and it can maybe be read in a few ways.

    Did they conquer F1, meaning their engines dominated the late 80′s by the virtue and advantage of telemetry analysis, or Honda were the first to bring this tech to F1?

    I cannot figure out which it is meant to mean..

  12. Kay says:

    I got goose bumps as I watched it….

  13. Glennb says:

    Thats 1minute of my life Im never getting back. Was expecting something / anything Senna related. Maybe I just dont get it :/

    1. Snowy says:

      Nope, you just don’t get it.

      It’s a fantastically inventive idea and amazingly realised. Fabulous marketing.

    2. Jack Flash says:

      You just don’t get it.

    3. Andy says:

      Yep, you don’t get it….. ;)

    4. Esteban says:

      That vid brought tears to my eyes… Can’t stop watching it… Can’t understand your comment!

    5. Random 79 says:

      Well Glennb, the verdicts in: You just don’t get it :)

      Honda have taken the telemetry from Senna’s pole lap at Suzuka and used that data to simulate his lap using the lights and engine noise – instead of seeing the lights, just imagine you are watching Senna’s car and you’ll get the idea.

      It’s a simple but brilliant concept, and once you understand it you’ll see what an amazing achievement it is.

      Give it another watch – it’s worth it – and if worst comes to worst and you still don’t get it then it’s still only one more minute of your life :)

      1. Glennb says:

        Who can argue with that feedback? I never claimed to be smert ;)
        I’m happy that folks like it, some passionately. That’s good.
        Do you think it would have been so cool if they said it was a lap by say… Charles Pic? Seb Vettel?
        Dont get me wrong, Senna was awesome. A little crazy but awesome all the same. I cried watching his accident at the time.
        Have a good weekend all. Hope your driver / team do well :)

      2. Random 79 says:

        Cheers Glennb :)

        Had to laugh at you throwing Pic & Vettel’s name in there, but then again who can really say who the kids will be talking about in twenty years time :)

  14. hippyneil says:

    Senna was an over-rated, [mod]
    Yes, he had his good days, especially in the wet but Alain Prost was better. Prost has more championships (4-3*) in more than one team (McLaren & Williams, Senna’s championships all came in McLaren’s dominant period), scored more points during the same period (1984-1993: Prost=629.5, Senna=610) and also had more wins (47-41). Prost also won races in 4 different teams compared to Senna’s 2.

    Prost deserves much more adulation, respect and recognition of his achievements than Senna.
    When can we get over this false idolisation and admit that Prost was a better driver that consistently beat Senna?

    *Note: In ’88 Prost scored more points than team-mate Senna but lost out due to the scoring system of “best 11/16 races” count.
    Source data: Wikipedia

    Video was pretty cool, though.

    1. Gareth says:

      You need to watch Senna in classic races such as Monaco 84, Monaco 92, Donnington 93, where he drove the Toleman and Mclaren out of its skin

    2. Marco says:

      Hi, hippyneil.
      Are you somehow related to Prost? Why do you bother to compare points won or other statistics if you have direct confrontation to get conclusions from. Senna came to Mc Laren as second driver and took the team by assault, stormed through hierarchy and had Prost scared, defeated , trying to tame Senna with lame agreements, and finally, cheating to win the championship, with the french fanatic help of Mr. Balestre. This was so evident that he preferred to leave to Ferrari even being world champion.

    3. Random 79 says:

      ‘Video was pretty cool, though’

      It took a while, but we got there in the end :)

    4. Adrian J says:

      “Prost has more championships (4-3*) in more than one team ”

      Prost had one advantage though. He didn’t die…Senna would probably have won more titles had he lived…

      1. JimmiC says:

        Possibly 1994 (his expertise could’ve sorted out that horrible Williams eventually), probably 1995, almost certainly 1996/97 if he was still racing.

    5. clyde says:

      Hi hippyneil

      If greatness was measured by mere statistics and knowledge was gained by reading wikipaedia there would be no progress in this world ….grow up

    6. Matt says:

      …and this is why the comments section of ANY website is hardly worth reading.

      How do you possibly watch that video and then proceed to type with great vengeance and furious anger words that attempt to poison and destroy my brothers? (Ref.)

      Just enjoy the video man, you even said it was cool.

  15. maxime says:

    If they are so concern with cost, what’s with this garbage? Nothing interesting here…

    1. Adrian J says:

      Who’s concerned with cost?

      This is marketing for Honda…nothing to do with F1 budget…

    2. Random 79 says:

      They wouldn’t be the first company to spend loads to create one minute of video.

      You should check out how much some spend on a thirty second superbowl ad in the US ;)

  16. Diego P says:

    Wonderful! :)

  17. Neil Jenney says:

    Spine chilling. Amazing.

  18. Valentino from montreal says:

    Great commercial by Honda .. When I went to Tokyo Japan last November for a Karate Tournament, I can honestly say : Japan is the best country in the world … Clean, civilized , polite , respectful and 20 years in advance in technology compared to the rest of the world ..

    Oh and BTW , Schumacher in his Ferrari days is still regarded as a GOD by the Japanese !!

    1. dan says:

      20 years in advance??? they were using function 1 speakers that were designed by tony Andrews years ago, he’s not from japan as you can tell, look him up, but I will agree on the rest.

      1. Randy_Torres says:

        Maybe they didn’t want to use the good Japanese speakers outside in wet conditions so they used the cheap expendable option.

      2. dan says:

        Just have a quick look at the man and company before you comment, he’s the Adrian Newey when it comes to sound, he was also one of the guy’s behind turbosound that was sold to Harman audio, maybe there is a jap company that i’m not aware of.

        Please put me in my place if ther is, as i’m not as clued up as I come across.

      3. Random 79 says:


      4. Randy_Torres says:

        @Dan As the great 17th century Samurai Masamune Date would say, “take a chill pill dude, its just a joke”.

  19. Lance says:

    What a fantastic treat. Too bad that can’t be done as performance art ala

  20. Dai Dactic says:

    Vacuous eye- and ear candy…

  21. Veena says:

    Nerve cracking. Amazing idea and implementation. Thx James for bringing this. As usual you rock.

  22. angus says:

    Saw this a few days ago, and have to say I think it is the closest you could get to visualizing his spirit. – still racing, still pushing.

    Guys if you don’t get it, thats fine – move on.
    Just don’t whinge about it….
    (I know I know – ‘welcome to the internet…’)

  23. Oz Geeza says:

    Japanise are very good in reminiscence of things
    Honda, should play the song by Chris Andrews
    ” I am her yesterday man “.

  24. Esteban says:

    I’m kinda hoping they sign Bruno and Nicolas… That would bring tears to my eyes! Just imagine McLaren + Honda + Senna + Prost together again! ;)

    The video is really something, it must have been great to be at the track for this show off!

    1. zombie says:

      That would be awesome ! With Bruno and Nicolas behind the wheel, Honda can also recreate their results of 1999-2009!

    2. Scott says:

      I just hope F1 doesn’t do to Bruno & Nicolas what it did to Piquet Jr. Nelson Piquet deserved more respect then what happened at the hands of Briatore, Renault & Alonso.
      Yes I like to stir the pot.

  25. jmv says:

    Isn’t it quite amazing that sound and light imitating speed and acceleration, and gear changing can stir so much emotion.

    Brilliant: Senna as light in darkness at Suzuka, powered by Honda.

  26. Robert Gunning says:

    The anorak in me noticed the speakers were set up around the new Casino Triangle, not the original one. LOL.

    1. Matt says:


  27. Randy_Torres says:

    Simply amazing piece of art! Brilliant in every respect. Reminded me of this:
    Totally different sound but same “medium”!

  28. Mike says:

    I had goosebumps watching that. A brilliant piece of modern art.

  29. Matt says:

    Thanks for sharing, James. This is a real treat to watch.

  30. Elie says:

    Great clip thanks James. Awesome concept &marketing tool for Hondas re entry into F1. This will gradually build next year throughout all of Asia- something that will only benefit all of F1.


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