F1 Winter Break
Take an F1 sceptic friend to see Senna film and win a dream British GP weekend
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Jun 2011   |  3:22 pm GMT  |  75 comments

The documentary film about three times world champion Ayrton Senna continues to be a massive success in the UK, with box office gross takings in excess of £2.5 million. In the next few days it will overtake the film “Touching the Void” as the most successful UK-produced documentary and Number 3 in the all time UK box office records for documentary.

And the good news is that the success of the film has made movie distributors Universal expand the film’s programme; this week it is showing on over 300 screens in the UK.

The reason for the success of the film is its crossover appeal – many people who would not normally be interested in F1 have seen the film and loved it. It’s doing great things in spreading the word about the sport. As well as a poignant story, the film has a visceral quality about it, bringing out the beauty and brevity of a life lived on the limit.

And herein lies the opportunity. We’ve got together with the film makers and our friends at Santander UK, to offer you a very special proposition.

Every F1 fan has a friend who doesn’t get it, can’t understand what the fuss is about F1 – “Cars going around in circles” and all that kind of thing.

With Senna on so many screens around the country why not take that friend to see the film and see if you can convert him or her into an F1 fan?

To play – Simply get the sceptical friend to post their thoughts about what the film and the sport on the foot of this post and we’ll choose the most interesting one. It’s not praise for the film we’re looking for, it’s finding someone who is beginning to get the sport’s appeal. We need to know which cinema you saw it in.

The prize is fantastic – the winner will get a Dream weekend for two at the Santander British Grand Prix, July 8th-10th with 2 grandstand tickets for all three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as hotel accommodation on Friday and Saturday nights in Oxford and transportation to and from the event. So you can really finish the job off and convert your sceptical friend to F1.

The winner will also get a signed Senna poster and a collectors’ edition Blu ray of the film (when it’s released).

There is a signed and framed Senna poster and a copy of the Blu ray for the runner up.

And there are some more posters and Blu rays for highly commended efforts.

The competition closes on Sunday 3rd July at 10pm.

For more info on the Santander British Grand Prix check out Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton’s special edition Facebook Page

Top 10 Documentaries at UK Box Office
1. FAHRENHEIT 9/11 (£6.54m)
4. SENNA (£2.57m)
5. DEEP SEA 3D (£2.42m)
8. TT3D (£1.2m)
9. SUPER SIZE ME (£1.11m)

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Senna is a legend, and a true F1 fan have to watch it. I also believe the film would be miles more interesting than the current season, which as become RBR and Vettel.

Any fan, other than RBR, woud found they are probably looking for something else than watching F1 in the next few months.


So who won James?

Catherine Londero

For the past 7 years I have been immersed into the world of F1 by my Husband. I have always tried to show an interest, even learning all the drivers and being tested on which team they drive for! However, no matter how much I tried I found it hard to sit through a full race (or even a few laps) without feeling sleepy and my mind drifting.

I went to see 'Senna' knowing how much my husband would enjoy it and at least thinking I would enjoy my pick and mix. From the moment the film started I was drawn in to this world I had no idea existed. It was like the best written fictional film but what shocked me was this was real.

The film helped me realise that F1 is about the extremes of emotions that most of us probably only feel a few times in a life time, if ever. The commitment Senna had to F1 was contagious and he clearly saw it as his true calling.

It is a beautifully made film and I was literally on the edge of my seat for a lot of it. I was inspired by Senna's dedication to his driving and there was a real intensity to him which the film cleverly built upon. At times it felt like being a fly on the wall listening to arguments/discussions you always wish you could hear. There were also some softer moments in the film when you got to know Senna on a more personal level. I was really moved by the way the end of the film was handled and having felt I had got to know Senna during the film it made the end few scenes harder to watch. He was an inspiration.

I will definitely watch F1 with a different approach and I feel I have a better idea of what it must feel like for the drivers and the risk they take every week. I'm sure this will make for a more interesting watch on the next race weekend!

Catherine Londero

I saw it at the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking, Surrey


Our lounge becomes a mock-up of what I now understand to be 'race control' on most Sundays. My boyfriend sets up camp on the sofa with the remote control, his tablet PC and a steely look in his eye that all but dares me to mention the Eastenders Omnibus.

To be honest I agreed to go and watch the Senna Movie at the Coventry Odeon to try and discover why my boyfriend goes feral for three hours twice a month. Plus I’ve never been invited into this world of flashing colour and screaming sound before, at least not officially. When it came to the Senna Movie, however, I held all the cards as he had no-one to go with and would not contemplate a trip to the cinema on his own. Ok, so I was perhaps his fifth choice for this particular event where more normally I hold the coveted number 1 on his priority list, but it was a way in! Besides, that sound and his frenzied excitement had always been a little infectious – I just been telling myself repeatedly that ‘I was not interested in racing cars’.

When I saw the movie I started to realise that maybe I could enjoy the sport after all. The story had soul, the characters larger than any soap-opera and I could almost smell the grease and burning rubber – not such a bad smell at all as I imagined it!

I may not like F1 for the same highly technical reasons as my boyfriend (not because I am a girl but because I am a different person). I may not share his devotion to Lewis Hamilton whom he has supported through thick and thin since the season before his F1 debut. I prefer listening to Eddie Jordan’s comedy stylings than David Coulthard’s more straightforward approach. I may even be a little more interested than him in where the drivers place on my mental ‘good looks’ chart!

But you know what? That’s all ok – the fact is that now I do enjoy F1. I enjoy it on my own terms and for my own reasons and there will not be many races that I do not sit alongside my boyfriend cheering and shrieking along in the future.

Valencia was my first full televised GP – while he bemoaned the relative lack of action I was actually quite pleased that I was inducted at such a straight forward race! However, I love action so, F1, you better ramp it up for the British GP!

Girls, give it a go if you have not allready. You might love it for exactly the same reason as the boys or you might find entertainment where they do not! Go on admit it - you've alweays wanted to take a sneak peak!


I accompanied my F1 fanatic boyfriend to the first night of the Senna movie in the UK (he'd been begging me to go with him for months after following the official Twitter feed) and came out afterwards more interested in Senna than he was!

Coming to the Senna story fresh was really inspiring and the following weekend I even stole my boyfriend's book on the life and death of Ayrton Senna when we went camping!

And to top it all - the first grand prix I watched in full was Jenson's win in Canada - I'm hooked now!



I took 4 friends at different screenings and all of them absolutely loved.

The tweet below came from 2 creative directors from Fallon (They created the Skoda "Cake" & "Meande Things" ads). Both super critical & sceptical about it. Before the film! After the film a sequence of tweets followed including a proper Q&A for about an hour.

1st Tweet: Just watched this at the Curzon. Senna, powerful doc on the Brazillian racing champ. Fast cars and tragedy youtube.com/watch?v=HrbJPs… #senna

jinka 1 week

2nd Tweet: @themightybeard Did you cry? Me and Chris cried man-tears. PS Lotus car was coolest

3rd Tweet: @themightybeard by far the best film I've seen in months. Chris and I still want a Sennachat with you, what better day than #SennaDay !


Bonus points: I also took my wife to 2 screenings and she also loved it. Most importantly she understood what/why I felt about Senna and now follows F1 with me every weekend.


I saw the Senna movie in the Harbour Lights Picturehouse, Southampton.




I saw it there with my girlfriend, who promptly watched the Valencia Grand Prix (her first F1 experience). She recognised Ron Dennis straight away!

She has fallen in love with Monaco and wants to go next year.

Ps we both cried like babies at the end.


I got dragged to see this film by my boyfriend, as if having to occupy myself every other weekend while he watches a race wasn't enough!

I was amazed by how interesting Senna was as a person, the film showed a real human side to racing drivers that I haven't noticed before.

After the film I watched the next race in Canada and was watching whilst thinking what was happening in all those behind the scenes, personal aspects of the drivers life.

Makes F1 much more approachable when you imagine Lewis Hamilton storming up in a strop to see the evil F1 bosses!

Top movie and has really changed the way I see my fella's F1 obsession (although don't tell him that)

Watched at Cineworld, Birmingham



I have become well used to writing off every other Sunday as my husband would refuse to make any plans as there as a race on. I never could understand the fascination with a collection of faceless cars speeding around a track. Last week that changed a little.

I was persuaded to watch Senna (At Coventry, Showcase) last Tuesday. What an eye opener. When a personality like Aryton Senna is behind the helmet it is little wonder people get so hooked on this sport. The impact one man can have on so many people, in a sport that cant be played on a park or the street is quite remarkable.

Senna was the reason my husband started watching F1 in the 80s, he might be the reason I start watching it nearly 30 years later!

I would love to further my education at the British GP!


OK, I'll play. My boyfriend is a complete petrolhead (cars, motorcycles, you name it), and, well, I don't get it. The noise, the tedium, the little boys comparing size of engine! But, over time I've started to understand the personalities involved...and started to care. That's why I enjoyed 'Senna' so much: the film was really about personality and ambition. Although I actually did get sucked into the drama of cars racing each other, what really caught my attention was the rivalry between Senna and Alain Prost; the exposition of Senna's faith; and the understanding of how a sporting figure can give an entire country pride. I also thought that the cinematographer's use of real footage was beautiful and moving.

We watched the film in Edinburgh at Cineworld Fountain Park.

Brendan Turner

Attended viewing of the Senna movie last weds 22nd at Vue Cribbs Causeway Bristol.As a youngster growing up, Senna was in the news together with Prost regularly.Did hear on the lead up to the films release it would be a tamed version of events.It did however confirm some of my suspicions.That F1 was and is to some extent very politically motivated.It was good to see all the fans etc back in the day.However i do feel that the current accessibility to races are out of reach for your average race fan due to ticket prices.I think F1 could do much more to promote this with the previous years bad press and coverage.overall a well made film of a talented driver showing that it's not all about the fame and money.His own word's the best time he had racing was when he was in his karting days.

Would recommend a trip the cinema for this one.


I saw the film at Finchley Road Cinema a few weeks ago. What intrigued me was the human face of the racing, the behind-the-scenes battles between Senna and Prost, the conflicts with the management so familiar in all forms of society today (not just sport!)and the people behind the helmets and fireproof suits. From the screen racing seems unreal, merely a set of toy cars going around a track, but this really brought home the attitudes to the danger, especially the concern shown by Senna throughout his career, not only for himself but for other drivers. This seems strangely ironic when we know the end of his story.

Also, Alain Prost looks a bit like Frodo Baggins...


No offence James but did you by any chance mean skeptic as opposed to sceptic? Unfortunately this competition doesn't apply to us non UK F1 fans.


25 hours and counting...


I can't understand why moderator needs so long time to decide if this comment can be published or not.

James, could you please give us some clear rules about when a comment is deemed offensive and therefore moderated?


I don't think James stated UK only. If you have a story and are able to fly in - hotel is included in the prize.

I took my wife to see it at Bell TIFF Lightbox in Toronto. She fell asleep 20 minutes into it. "A" for my effort I guess, when you can get a break from 2 kids you can learn about Senna or you can get some rest. What's most impressive about it is that she slept though the noise.

Should I get a divorce? 🙂 Or should I take a nap myself next time we're shopping for purses?


Now that I think about it, perhaps the wine we had while waiting in the meet and greet area had something to do with that solid nap.


It's a great opportunity but the movie isn't being shown in Cyprus, I can't get time off work as I just started and I can't afford to fly in from CY, it costs about 400 euro, peak season.

As for your wife I'd give her A for effort too, kids are a full time job so I can understand how she fell asleep. You can return the favour next time you go shoe shopping. 🙂



Really pleased that you have given an update on the film. I went to see it a second time Saturday in my local town that originally was only going to show it on the Tuesday. There was a very good turnout and a lot of people who could not have been very old when Senna was alive. Groups of girls were present as well, not just your stereotypical audience.

You know when a film has meant something to the audience when everyone stays behind to watch the credits....

On a final point any chance that the soundtrack may be released on iTunes? I have seen chatter elsewhere and am sure there could be a demand for it.


I asked director Asif Kapadia on Twitter about the soundtrak. He replied Decca will be releasing it and it will be available on iTunes.


Funny you posted this. I was looking if there was a soundtrack release on the HMV website during the weekend!

Personally, I'd go for the good old CD release so that we can have a proper booklet.

Antonio Pinto is defintely the unsung hero of the production team.


I think there may be a soundtrack coming out yes. It's one of the film's greatest strengths


My mistake. Apparently it's spelled both ways.


Is this competition also extended to fans in the U.S.?


Plenty of last minute flights into UK, you won't have any trouble.

I can't believe no one here has a 14 year old son or daughter to take to this movie. Surely their 1 page essay would make everyone's day on this site.

My boys are 4 and 2, so it's Cars 2 for them, not Senna. My older one calls every trophy he sees the Piston Cup. It's hilarious.


Only if you can guarantee to be able to get to Silverstone next week!


I definitely would be able to... Trying to find a place to watch the movie in North Carolina here is the bigger challenge it seems. Sucks to be an F1 fan in the U.S.


Abdoul, quit your whining 😉 When are we gonna hang out and watch a race? Hopefully Senna shows in the Triangle and not just Charlotte.


The film captured the pure passion and determination of the competing drivers, showing them pushing the boundaries of what's possible with man and machine. It's not just 'cars going round in circles', but a serious sport that takes a huge amount of concentration, commitment and courage and my eyes were opened as to how dangerous it once was, until Senna fought for a change. I found it a powerful summary of Senna's racing life and saw him as a real inspiration - not only to his native Brazilians but to people the world over (viewed at Westfield Shopping Centre, London).


I took two F1 skeptic friends to see the Senna doc in Toronto, with promises they'd leave understanding not only Senna, but F1.

While one, a guy, enjoyed the movie, and walked away with any new interest in F1, the other, a woman, was upset at how little about the sport was explained in the movie. I had to admit that I agreed with her. For instance, while I know how significant it is the amount of gap with which Senna outqualified Prost in Monaco, without a small bit of explanation for the uninitiated viewer, this bit of magic is lost.

The movie is great and I enjoyed it immensely. However, I couldn't help but wonder how much better it would have been for non-F1 viewers if some of the educational elements, seen in amazing motorsports documentaries such as Faster (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368721/), would have made it great for every one watching.


*** Some thoughts about @SENNAmovie ***

My partner and I saw the Sydney premiere on the closing day of the Sydney Film Festival.

We thoroughly enjoyed the film for what it is (Senna telling his own story).

However, it is a worry that with the film success, a new generation of F1 viewers might think Senna was vastly superior to Prost and that Prost only won his championshipd because he was playing the political game in 89 and had a vastly superior car in 93.

It is true to some degree (and why Senna desperately wanted to go to Williams for 93), there is not a word about the Imola 89 pact between the two drivers and nothing about Prost smooth driving style that puts Jenson Button in a slower category of drivers.

As Ron Dennis puts it in the film, Prost did not want to repeat this somehow 'less harmonious' 89 season and Prost made sure that didn't happen, which is undertandable.

Something that doesn't transpire in the film is that Senna wanted to beat Prost because Alain was the best at the time. He had to go to his team where he was the established driver and beat him with the same equipment.

What is also missing at the end is how much Senna missed competing against Prost on that fateful weekend.

I think it would have made Senna look like an even better driver.

Call me a Prost fan (which I was back then)if you like, but for someone who is interested in the history of F1, the film success might distort history.

Hopefully, the DVD release will address these points as I had a lot to explain to my girlfriend after the film.


I was taken by my husband, totally expecting to see just another boy movie, as a penance to all my weekend shopping excursions....

....I was wrong.

What I actually watched unfold was a story of love (Brazil to Senna, Senna to Brazil, the Senna family, not to mention the squillions of fans), dedication, humour and respect.

The movie could have just harped on about the sad ending, the if's and's and buts'... but didn't. It didn't need to.

I was, and now am, honestly and genuinely transfixed to a new F1 world opening up to me- as a result I'm even now reading Martin Brundle's book "working the wheel"!!

And if anyones asking? It's gotta be Hamilton for me (Hey! I love an underdog!)


My partner, James, had already seen 'Senna' before and was very enthusiastic about it, as he has followed F1 since childhood and Ayrton Senna was an idol of his. However, he insisted I would enjoy the film too, even though I had never been sure about F1's appeal.

As an Italian girl, I had many men in my family who followed Formula Uno avidly, though for my father I always thought it was just an opportunity for a couple of hours' sleep in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon.

For some reason James chose the Clapham Picturehouse, SW4, on a Monday night, as there weren't that many screenings on at the time. The location wasn't very handy from N13, where we live, but somehow I agreed, though on the way there I did wonder what on earth I was doing going so far.

I can say honestly that I enjoyed 'Senna' very much and it told a very emotional and compelling story about an era in the sport through the eyes of a very charismatic character. It left me quite moved and I had seen a side of F1 that hadn't appreciated before.

The following Sunday was the Canadian GP, which James was watching with friends in a bar in town. Not only did I tune in and left it on in the background, I found myself glued to the spectacle, even staying with it through the long interval. Perhaps this race was unusually exciting, but I can honestly say I'll never call Formula Uno boring again!


I went to see Senna with my boyfriend a few weeks ago (at The Little Theatre Cinema in Bath), not at all prepared for how much the film would grab my attention.

I'll be honest, I only went because my boyfriend wanted me too, I didn't consider myself a fan of Formula 1 and I still don't. But the next race was the Canadian Grand Prix and and found myself getting quite into it (it probably helped that Jenson Button is one of the drivers I've heard of!!) so who knows. He's already asked me if I'd go to the British GP with him in the next couple of years...I haven't actually given him an answer yet, but if by some miracle I won these tickets then I think that would make his decade!! (Fingers crossed)


Any news on an international release for the film, in particular any plans for NZ?


Senna is part of the NZ International 2011 Film Festival: http://www,nzff.co.nz/

Which will be held in fourteen regions throughout the country, starting in Auckland on July 14.

Auckland has only three screenings of Senna on July 24, 28, and 31.


Me and the woman went to see the film. Only film in history that I've been in the cinema and had more interest in the film than the woman lol. Well for the most part that is 🙂


Damien: ''Formula one, Formel ein, Formula uno. No matter what language you say it in, you know you're in for high-speed, top quality action. If you no longer switch over during a formula one race, you're no longer a sceptic.'' (Showcase cinema deluxe)


Damien: ”Formula one, Formel ein, Formula uno. No matter what language you say it in, you know you’re in for high-speed, top quality action. If you no longer switch over during a formula one race, you’re no longer a sceptic.” (Showcase cinema deluxe)


Hi James,

Great competition however can I please gripe for a minute. As an Australian based F1 nutter its quite frustrating with the amount of F1 competitions that while are not run exclusively for a European audience - they exclude fans from around the world from realistically taking part. This isn't limited to your site and is not an attack but I would love to see some parity across the board and hoping this may be raised in the next FOTA Fans Forum - again a medium we aren't able to take place in. I understand that the biggest F1 audience is in Europe but as a fan that is often up at God knows what times in the morning to catch qually or the race live its frustrating that we aren't given the same opportunities to witness the sport we love because of our geographic location.



I guess I'll take this opportunity to make a pitch for convincing Universal to getting the movie to India at the time of the Indian Grand Prix. I had taken the trouble of getting the Blu-Ray from Japan, and have shown it to all the friends who i have converted to F1 fans, but would really look forward to seeing this on the big screen. Would appreciate any movement on this...




I can’t exactly say I was dragged along to see the film (not like I’m being made to write this post just to win tickets!!!!), but I went to see the film with my boyfriend on the first weekend is was released locally. We’d both been looking forward to it for some time, so perhaps this rules me out as being a sceptic ;-p

I’ve only been following the sport properly for the last 3-4 years so the Senna/Prost debate is something that I’ve heard about but didn’t know much of. I had read snippets of some reviews, suggesting it was heavily biased in the way it told the story, but I like to make up my own mind so tried to ignore as much as possible in the build up to seeing it.

I thought the film was a fabulous record of a very important part of the sports history. I couldn't believe how unsafe some of the circuits looked or the cars for that matter, which is all the more poignant when you look at the film's ultimate ending. You know what you're going to see, but it's nevertheless an upsetting finish. The audience let out a huge gasp when Rubens crashed (which thinking about it now still sends a chill through my body) and having never seen the Roland Ratzenberger crash before, I simply couldn't believe the sheer violence.

A lot of the video from the final part looks so fresh still; it hardly looks to be almost 20 years ago. My boyfriend came away not really knowing what to think of the film. On the one hand he says it was great to see the Senna and Prost story being retold and that he loved seeing and hearing F1 cars on the big screen, but he found it very moving and at times hard to concentrate, knowing what was always bound to come. I thought the end was handled very sensitively, although I'm still in two minds over the parts showing the drivers receiving medical treatment.

For me, the film did a very good job at telling a very troubling and complicated story. It's a part of the sports era I knew very little about. I knew about Senna and Prost, but I didn't really know about the reasons for the rivalry. It was quite cheering to see at the end that Alain is now part of the Senna trust. I also thought contrary to a lot of reviews, Alain Prost came across as a very charismatic gentleman. Perhaps there was some political bias involved, but that alone wouldn’t have helped him to win everything he did. So any sceptisim I may have had that this film was in some way meant to

The other thing that jumped out at me was how unprofessional everything appeared to be. As I said, we're only looking back at the sport 20 years ago, but the president sounded like a dictator from colonial times. I felt sorry for the poor chap who kept referring to Mr Moll!!! FORGET MR MOLL! I can't imagine Jean Todt acting in the same way, although perhaps that's me showing some naivety.

We saw it at the Picture House in Exeter. A great little indie cinema that we highly recommend!! The only embarrassing thing to report was my boyfriend had convinced the staff to let him take home the big 6ftx4ft Senna cardboard stand up poster on the final night. It had just gone 11pm and we were dragging this huge picture of Senna through the streets of Exeter and when we finally got it to his van and it didn't fit!!!!! It's now in the corner of the living room awaiting a quote to be framed, although I'm resigned to it probably staying where it is for a great many of years to come. I'd happily trade it for a couple of GP tix 😉


As a gesture of good will I went to see this film with my boyfriend, aka the Ayrton Senna fanatic, in Odeon in Richmond (London). My other half had assured me that the film wasn't "just for F1 fans but a human interest story too." This was not true. It was all about cars, tracks and pole positions (why do I know this word?!) I seriously struggled to stay awake and felt guilty for thinking "Come on, die already so we can get out of here." There was a moment of excitement in the film in all fairness. Someone overtook someone else. I can't be much more specific as I hadn't been paying attention up until then. That was about it.


I'm so glad I brought you along...


To be honest, I never thought I would be a F1 fan but since I went to the independent cinema in Southampton I became one. Of course I knew who Senna was but I was never interested in seeing cars moving around and this stuff. But now I know I was wrong because the movie showed me how much it takes to follow dreams and really live your life the way you want like Ayrton did. He was an amazing personality with big heart. Since I saw the movie I had to buy also some book about Ayrton to get to know him a little bit better. And now I like him a lot for what he did as a sportman and I love him for what kind of a person he was. A legend


Hi James,

So my husband took me to see Senna at the weekend, he's a huge F1 fan and has spent the last 7 years trying to convince me it was the greatest thing since sliced bread! Our daughter is 18 months old now, during my pregnancy whilst trying to come up with names Jon decided we should call her Senna. At the time I thought he was an absolute fool, who in their right mind would want to name their daughter ( not even son, but daughter!) after an F1 driver!!!

Then whilst sitting through the film last weekend, our first night out without our daughter in months, I actually got it. Senna had so much passion, not only for the sport but for life, I could see how someone would be proud to have that name. I never understood why Jon would was so emotional up when Hamilton missed out in 2007 or when he managed to win the world championship in 2008, or when Jenson finally cracked it in 2009, but during the movie, not already knowing when Senna would win his championships I got that feeling of immense tension followed by the huge relief when he did win! It was incredible!

Jon always talks about the politics in the sport, but from what I'd seen as an occasional viewer I never got it, he'd make me watch clips of Hamilton getting a penalty for doing "absolutely nothing wrong" (minus a few words your moderators may take issue with!) During the Senna movie I really got a feel for the reality behind the politics, F1 is much more than a sport, it's got a life of it's own.

On Sunday we sat down to watch the GP together and for the very first time I was actually excited! Shame about the race itself, I've been promised Silverstone will be much better for reasons I don't really understand, but either way I'm really looking forward to it.

It's taken 7 years and 1 amazing movie but I'm finally convinced! If we don't win this competition, then we'll be booking tickets for the 2012 Canadian GP! I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you were looking for but it's honest, I'm a true convert!



p.s. Jon lost the naming battle, our daughter is called Isabelle! but you never know I might be persuaded for number two!

We saw the movie at the Odeon Cinema in Stoke on Trent on Saturday night (9:15 showing)


Another convert!!

(In my head Isabelle is a Senna)

Hope we win!! My parent's will look after Isa for the weekend



I'm in Ireland (RoI) My nearest cinema is 30 miles away. I rang to enquire about 'Senna', they told me it was on for 4 nights at 21.00, so I made the journey on the 4th evening.

When I got there,it had been taken off after the 3rd night, as "No one knew who he was".

Unbelievable! Perhaps if Eddie Jordan had been in it, it would have had greater popularity.


He was in it!


Hey James, Any chance of film debuting in India at all?


Yes, the film makers are both Indian. I'm sure there are plans..


I just wish that I could actually get to watch the movie... Guess Southern Africa will only get it with the next ice age. I am frustrated, can't take part in any F1 competition since it is only for people living in the UK or Europe. This part of the world must rely on whatever scraps of information gets handed on via the internet or expensive satellite tv. Can't take part in fan forums, cannot win a day with the Mercedes Benz F1 team, cannot even get to see a movie that has been showing all over the world since last year...

Sorry about sounding bitter, I am just really anxious to watch it...

Caroline Trainor

All I had heard about the Senna film was that it would make even a non-F1 fan a fan. I soon discovered my boyfriend – who’s an F1 nut – had also picked up on this key piece of information and it took him roughly a minute to use it as a convenient way to set up a romantic "date" at Islington's Vue cinema.

I knew little of Senna other than he had died during a race that my dad and brother were watching. I was only 11 at the time and I clearly remember seeing their shocked faces after the crash.

But I couldn’t tell you what race that was. I also knew nothing of Senna’s team, his background, I’d never even heard of Prost and certainly didn't have any idea of the drama of their rivalry. Basically, F1 wasn’t my thing.

As I was watching Senna, it made me think of Titanic. I know that sounds a bit strange but that story had the same timeless elements as Senna’s: one was immortal, the other unsinkable. Neither film suffered from knowing how it was going to end. In fact, it only made them more powerful.

Far from worrying about not appreciating a film about some driver who died in a crash, my biggest struggle was fighting back the tears when, just as in Titanic, the inevitable happened.

Now I’m starting to get it. Now I’m starting to get why Senna is a legend, why I’m told Hamilton wants to be him, why F1 isn’t just cars going round and round like I thought and why it really is life and death. Now F1 is my thing, or one of them anyway.



For a masculine sport that seemed to be all about competition, engines, speed and performance, formula one wasn’t an obvious attraction for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a really keen driver, and love cars, but formula one never really seemed that engaging.

I had tried to sit through a few races (under duress!), but with little action and finding it hard to tell the drivers and cars apart, I was always left under-whelmed. I guess perhaps I also felt a bit excluded from a sport where the only female participants were all either holding a microphone or an umbrella.

To be honest, I knew about Hamilton & Button more from the pages of Heat magazine, and formula one seemed to be a bit dull, incomprehensible, and concerned with a little bit of driving and a lot of talking.

Prior to watching the Senna movie, when I had told my other half formula one was boring, he always said, “The more you get into it, the more exciting it becomes.” He suggested some races can be a little boring, but if you follow a season and are interested in the drivers, teams, technology and politics behind it, there is so much more to see. I always thought that was a load of twaddle, but seeing the Senna movie gave me an insight into the side of formula one which excites my other half so much.

When you find out about the personalities within the cars, and what makes them tick, it takes on a whole new interest. The one thing that stands out to me was seeing the human side to the drivers. To see the vulnerability of Senna and his weaknesses as well as his strengths makes it more a story about emotions, ambition and family and less about the cars – which I previously thought were the stars. It introduces a whole new angle of the driver’s focus, determination, talent and of course the inevitable sadness in the face of both defeat and tragedy.

After watching the movie I realised it’s not about watching cars go round in a circle for a while on a Sunday, it’s about understanding the drivers, the teams, the sport and the competition between all of them. Importantly I think the film also showed the competition a driver has with himself. This was evident within Senna, watching him try to balance intelligence, respect, humility and compassion, against the steely determination to win at all costs was incredible.

I wouldn’t say the Senna movie has changed my life, but I now have an interest in the humans inside the helmets. Since seeing the film I have read the first of the two books by Prof. Sid Watkins (procured from my other half’s mildly obsessive motorsport drawer) and I’m starting to understand the passion that drives all of those involved in the sport. I had no idea about the history of the sport, and that drivers routinely risked their lives in pursuit of winning.

Senna seemed to have so much passion, and this was so well presented in the film. Hollywood couldn’t make up a story as well as that, and I’m glad they didn’t try.

The film had a real sincerity you could only get from the people who were there. You couldn’t make a film like that with actors playing the roles.

I think it is a brilliant and beautiful film, about a charismatic and fascinating man and his passion, determination and vulnerability during the highs and lows of the sport which fuelled his existence, but ultimately cost him his life.

Understanding that all the drivers who race today are thinking the same things now, and sharing Senna’s passion, gives formula one a new dimension, and makes me want to get involved!

(Seen at Harbour Lights Picture House Southampton Ocean Village)


My Husband is a huge F1 fan and loves senna and begged me to go to the cinema to see Senna,

I hated F1 and could not see its appeal silly men sitting in silly cars going round and round.

Well we arrived at Cineworld in Crawley after driving all the way from Dover to see it. I was not happy we had driven nearly 2 hours just to see a film i was not interested in.

Well within 20 minutes I was hooked to the film not because of the man it was based on but it felt like a real drama film with all sorts of action.

To list a few it had drama, love (peoples passion for the cars the circuits and the people), politics, bullying, aggression, fear and a sense of family within this thing that I now understand to be called motorsport and formula 1.

The start just hooked me in and as it went on despite my husband telling me the ending hundreds of times I was scared as the ending began to get ever near. I watched in horror as the ratzenburger crash happened and could not believe how people can act or feel when things like this happened.

I also noticed that the bullying that seemed to be thrown at Senna during the accident with Prost was very unjust F1 seems to make you guilty for supposedly breaking rules that are dangerous in the first place or certainly were when this happened.

When the senna fatal accident finally happened I was basically crying not just because of his crash but because it seemed that senna felt he was the leader of the sport and even though ratzenburger had died the day before and the crash of his friend barichello, he had said to the doctor that he had to go on because he could not leave the sport in the state it was in.

To me it felt like a political leader or a president vowing to stand by and protect his people during war when people are needlessly dying for no need or because they follow the wrong rule. He felt like a man who held the sport together

After watching the film I was sad it had ended it a film that left me wanting more although I knew it could not. Senna I have begun to learn was not just a special person in a sport but was seen as god to the people of Brazil.

I loved watching the close racing and the politics and the badly thrown accusations and in some cases bullies like FIA leader Ballestre.

At the end of the film I said to my husband what great acting to which he replied that was not acting that was made using interviews and real footage of senna and races. I was even more full of phraise when he said this because it has been put together beautifully even though it may be a bit biased towards senna but you can forgive the film for that because of its beautiful story it tells.

Senna to me seemed loved by everyone who watched, wanted by those who worked in the sport and envied if not slightly hated by those who ran the sport because he was not afraid to speak his mind.

I have since watched some formula one races and ask questions all the time, whos that how does that work whats in the car how do the cars work.

I now get the appeal of formula 1 but cant understand why it is not advertised to the wider audience to people like me who used to hate it. I watched a recording of the canadian grand prix my husband had and if they used that to advertise formula 1 more people would want to watch and want to know about the sports heroes like Senna and would want to see the film. I am in no doubt that many people who were reluctant to go watch senna but were forced by their sport loving partners are now the same as me asking "can I watch a race with you" "when is the next race" "where is it" and bugging their partners with questions so many times that their partners are asking why did you not watch this before and at the same time saying oh god why did I take you to that film.

I cant wait to watch more races and listen to the stories my husband tells me about what happened in the f1 news and who this is and whats happening.

I dont care how long it takes me to learn but I will stick to it like a new hobby


I knew months before the Senna movie came out that my presence would be required and I had mentally rolled my eyes everytime it was mentioned!! It turned out that by the time the film had been released my other half Ian had sorted out my replacement. How dare he I thought, I have paid my dues I should at least get something out of of it... hours of listening to who won the race in 19...blah blah blah with what tyre and what time they completed it in!

I fought tooth and nail to re-gain my rightful place and told Jamie (my replacement), that he wouldn't be needed as in my words 'I REALLY WANTED TO GO'.............although I didn't realise how true this would come to be.

As the day rolled around to go and see the screening at Cineworld Milton Keynes, I was still sceptical. When the titles started I was already hooked and the sheer noise had got my adrenalin running through my veins....loved it!!

I could not and still cannot beleive how much F1 has changed since the days of the AMAZING Senna, who quite honestly drove with nerves of steal that could not be matched. Only after I had seen the film, was I able to realise what a fantastic driver he was. So much so that I agreed to go a second time, just to feel that same feeling.

This film has changed my view on F1, as now I can almost appreciate what these drivers put themselves through for the entertainment of others.

I will always feel for Senna's family and the Brazilian people for the person they lost. He drove with a detirmination to do the best for himself and everyone around him, which you can only admire. The film has brought me closer to the real life behind the media portrayal and that is the thing that will, from now on keep me intriguged about the sport....there is more to F1 than the money and the big boats in Monaco.

Teague Flannery

Cars going round and round, men in funny suits, irritating loud noises - in the 80s apart from the intro music, what was there to like about F1? if anything it always bored me, growing up it was an interruption to weekend cartoons and an incentive to switch off, go outside and away from the snoozeville TV. Having grown up with this view I wasn’t expecting to find the film ‘Senna’ interesting or enlightening.

I saw ‘Senna’ with my F1 fanatic friend at the Rio Dalston and was glued to my seat all the way through, surprised to be so moved by the unfolding events. It’s true that I saw the film knowing the headlines, that Ayrton Senna did not survive his last race, but that was all I knew. I sat watching, spellbound as the filmmakers revealed the unique access they had been given to Senna and his world. This insight into his career, his thoughts (both public and private) and the monumental events in the history of F1 was completely captivating, with all the surrounding politics, money and emotions of F1 honestly laid out - warts and all.

The films from the internal car were phenomenal, giving a sense of the speed that the cars travel at that I had never really understood before. Witnessing the exhilaration and passion of the contenders, their families and the fans has stuck with me, I now get why it is such compulsive viewing.

Ayrton Senna seemed to be a true individual, who was so much wiser than his years and an inspiration to all who knew and loved him. His early death is clearly a loss to all, although this film is an everlasting tribute to him and a real gift for those born after him or like me, just didn’t get it at the time.

Alexandra Johnen

The name Aryton Senna conjures up memories of my early teenage years. Along with names like Schumacher and Hill and the ‘nyooooong’ noises of the cars, it formed the backdrop to weekends in the 1980s and 90s as my racing fan (and former rally driving) father would watch events on TV. But, as a disinterested teenage girl who never even asked her father how he got the trophies on his shelf, it was background only and for me the name Senna always remained associated with death. That changed when I saw the film. Motivated to see it by nostalgia and a curiosity to know more about the events of 1994, it had a totally unexpected impact on me. The levels of emotion that the film provoked made me reconsider what exactly my father was watching all those times…

Since watching the film, the name Aryton Senna means a person to me, not just an accident. It now means that instead of cars racing round a track I see people and the passion that keeps them driving. Who could possibly watch the footage of Senna from the morning of the fatal race and not want to scream at him not to drive? Whatever his true feelings that day, clearly he felt he had no choice and not due to the politics or the money but some internal forces.

Behind those drivers I now also see the teams and have a clearer sense of the relationships that are crucial to the success of the driver. The competition between drivers, even when on the same team, such as Senna and Prost, seems vital to keeping them focused and that sense of what is going on behind the scenes makes the sport more intriguing to watch. The apparent closeness between Ron Dennis and Senna seems to help propel him to being a champion and the tantalising glimpses of friction between them as he moves to Williams foreshadow the tragedy to come. My favourite part of watching racing can be the pit stops since these also emphasise the team work required to win. The driver-camera shots of the car pulling over and the perfectly honed army of mechanics swarming in to get the car ready to go again in seconds (I think four seconds for some drivers recently in Valencia) amazes me.

The portrayal in the film of the politics behind the sport also drew me in as a non-fan. Although Senna viewed this is a negative to overcome, corrupting the pure driving of the sport, for me it gave a sense of the multiple factors involved in winning and an intriguing glimpse into the behind the scenes world. The scenes in the film of the pre-race meetings are some of the highlights for me. Not only for the comedy moments involving Balestre (a great villain in the film) but also for the sense of solidarity between the competitors off track, for example in voting to swap a tyre wall for cones.

So, did the film convert me to Formula 1? Well, yes. Now that I have seen a glimpse into the world of racing from an inside point of view (which is why using pure footage works so well) I feel more able to engage with it as a viewer. The film did more than just convert me though. It filled me with such a range of emotions that I still lie awake thinking about it and have had more conversations about it than any other film I’ve seen. Senna’s gift as a driver was one thing but add to that his charm and humanity (visiting Barrichello after his accident for example and the end-credits shot of him getting out to help another driver after an accident during a race) and you have a true hero. Maybe if I could go back to my fourteen year old self and give her the film she would understand her father’s passion better and have more interest in a sport that produced such a man as Aryton Senna.

I saw the film first at Picture House in Stratford and then at the Vue in Islington.


When I went to see Senna at The Odeon in Norwich with my husband and two friends (one a motor sport fan, the other a sceptic like me) I wasn’t expecting much. The sceptic and I had toyed with going to see another film but, as it was her boyfriend’s birthday, thought we should stay and watch his choice of film.

I’ve never really taken much of an interest in Formula 1. When I was growing up my father always watched the races and when I moved out have to admit I was disappointed when I realised my husband was just the same and would even choose to watch races when we’ve been on holiday. I didn’t see the appeal and have always thought they could cut the race down by at least half the laps - if not more.

Having watched Senna I won’t say I’m a true convert (as I’d probably still pick hitting the shops over watching laps), but the film has given me more of an appreciation for the world of F1 and the skills and bravery of the drivers. It’s opened my eyes to the passion of the teams, the politics and the tactics of a race and shows how rules and regulations can determine the success or failure of a team. In short the film has shown me how exciting and unpredictable the sport can be.

Will I be watching every race from now on? To say I will would be a lie, but now I think I will give Formula 1 a chance instead of leaving the room as soon as I hear the opening titles. And, if I give it that chance, who knows? In time I may be as hooked in by the races as my father and husband.

Maggie Carroll

Difficult to watch, the end of the film I mean; Senna lying in the road without his shoes on. Why are bare feet so vulnerable in a man? Or have I miss-remembered that one? It was heartbreaking to keep looking, like a passer-by, rubbernecking in the crowd; fifteen years is it? I remember my husband, David, coming to find me in the kitchen, to tell me that Senna was dead. I usually watched the races with him but I’d missed this one for some reason and I never saw the footage until now, sitting in the darkness of the intimate Curzon Cinema in Soho, blinking away tears because now, at the climax of this mesmerizing film, I needed to see it all. David had pleaded with me to see it with him and now I was glad I had come.

The names came back to me: Nikki Lauda, crash - scarred by fire but still climbing into that cockpit; Nigel Mansell, going down the straight on three wheels after his tyre blew out as he battled with Nelson Piquet. Schumacher was a ‘Rookie’ and yes, of course, Murray Walker. No one could say ‘Ayrton Senna’ like Murray Walker; he made it sound like royalty.

‘Senna’, the film, brought back the past vividly. So much has changed: on-screen statistics, pit stops, KERS DRS, but pit crews in shorts and tee shirts? The on-board camera gave a much better view though…Technology, of course, is always changing; there are gains and there are losses but Senna’s death changed everything.

I stopped watching the races after that. In recent years I have only joined my husband – who I’m sure hasn’t missed a race in thirty years – to enjoy a bit of qualifying; I like to know who’s on Pole. Maybe I’ll watch the beginning of a race. I’m always curious about Red Bull and McLaren and I feel for Lewis Hamilton, so much talent and attitude, so much frustration. Perhaps he’s missed his era? A few years ago I had the privilege of standing very close to a McLaren F1 car in a Blue Peter studio. I touched it surreptitiously; it glided back and forth under my fingers apparently weightless. No brakes. It would be something to drive one of these.

Last weekend I watched the Valencia race from start of coverage to finish. Not one of the great ones, however, for the first time in many years, I enjoyed it. Perhaps I’m beginning to ‘get it’ again, perhaps seeing ‘Senna’ has given me some sort of closure. Does that seem melodramatic? Senna was a good man as well as a superb F1 driver. He had talent, spirituality, and a fierce loyalty to Brazil. Until I watched this film I hadn’t known about his charity work or his battles with authority or his campaigns to improve safety for drivers. I only knew that it thrilled me to watch him race. The good die young, but Senna’s legacy somehow lives on in F1 today. I fell out with Formula 1. I’m ready to make up now…

Maggie Carroll


My boyfriend explained to me early on that he loved me, but I was going to be a "race day widow" during the Formula 1 season. Despite the warning, I was shocked to see him spring from bed in the wee hours to watch pre-race coverage. Was this bright-eyed fellow the same guy who can't be lured from bed before noon most weekends? At this point I was more fascinated by the personality changes F1 brought out in him than in the sport itself.

When we took a European roadtrip last January I thought his insistence we pass through Monaco was romantic. Of course, I naively assumed he wanted to see the glamour of the riviera. I soon learned his passion was really for the holy grail of F1, the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. He schooled me in the tradition and history of the place and I was won over by his enthusiasm. I couldn't help but oblige when he shyly asked me to take photos while he fulfilled a lifelong dream. With "Welcome to the Jungle" blaring out of the cassette player, my man proudly took his 15-year old Peugeot 106 for a lap at Monaco.

When he asked me to see Senna with him at the Cameo Theatre in Edinburgh I accepted immediately. I didn't think to bring tissues to a racing documentary, which just goes to show how much I still have to learn. I didn't know anything about Ayrton Senna before I saw the documentary, but it confirmed my growing suspicion that F1 is a sport with serious depth. There are just so many levels in it. What made Senna so compelling to me is the intensity with which he tackled all the facets of the sport. He seemed to be racing on the physical, emotional, technical and instinctual levels all the time.

After seeing the movie my boyfriend and I started watching the races together. This has it's advantages: he doesn't miss bits of commentary due to his mate's loud swearing anymore. And disadvantages: he doesn't share my belief that Jenson Button has the most adorable name (and face) in motorsport. However, we've agreed that David Coulthard should be a better friend to Eddie Jordan and check his outfits before the cameras start rolling.

Now that I'm starting to get sucked into the F1 world, I cannot believe my boyfriend let me decline a turn behind the wheel in Monte Carlo. Shouldn't friends not let friends pass on the chance to drive Monaco?

Ana Gillespie

I saw Senna at the Vue Islington. I'd never heard of Aryton Senna before until earlier this year when my housemates were talking about him being the best driver ever but it didn't spur me on to find out more. As for formula 1 itself, I had absolutely no interest in it. I knew names of random people, I'd hear on the news, newspaper headlines or from people around me talking about Grand Prix. But I just didn't get what formula 1 was about it. If I'm honest, it seemed pointless. Then the film Senna came out.

I was intrigued to see it just to learn more about Senna and find out why he was such a big deal. But I had no real impetus. In the end, it was a friend who insisted I see go see it and eventually took me to see it. I'm glad I did!

Senna was an incredible man both on and off the track. It's hard to express how much his passion and his fight has affected me. It was humbling to watch and even to think about now. The most difficult thing to see was Senna deciding to race that fateful day. From day 1 of that weekend, he just always looked like his head somewhere else. Perhaps it had to do with the car, or maybe some more personal conflict was on his mind but whatever it was, that coupled with the death of Ratzenburger the day before he just looked entirely broken by race day. There is no doubt Senna continues to be missed.

As F1, It's a shame to see how much the politics involved in it affects, and can detract from the racing itself. But for better or worse, it's clearly a crucial part of the sport or how else could they have improved the safety for the drivers.

After watching the film, I can now appreciate the level of skill involved in the driving itself. I didn't get it until I saw the driver's point of view shots. Then there's the handling of the car and team required to improve and make adjustments to it in the heat of a race.

I never thought I would ever find F1 interesting, let alone exciting. But Senna has made me convert and I want to learn more! I do think there are more things F1 can do to reach a wider audience but fingers crossed they stay on free-tv a good while longer please...

Alexandra Pitchford

After suffering through this years F1 as my first year of watching the sport, I was taken to see the Senna film at the Vue Cinema Worcester, as an education into F1. I found the film a fantastic story about Senna and the Formula 1 he raced in. After watching the movie, I regret to say that I fear I will still be suffering through the F1 of today because the movie seemed to show that F1 in the '80s and '90s was far more gladiatorial than the cotton wool covered F1 drivers of today. If F1 had the pure danger and raw excitement of yesteryear, I think I may well be a smitten convert.

Lorraine Cooper

I dragged my husband to Cribbs in Bristol to watch Senna, I think he saw it as an opportunity to catch up on his sleep for a couple of hours, his usual opinion on F1 is that nothing happens.

Well, his take on things changed. I can't get him near the computer but the comment on leaving the cinema was "Bloomin' hell" (actually it was a bit ruder than that, but you get the idea) "I never realised there was so much to it, or that I'd be interested & want to want to watch it through."

While I can't see him ever getting up in the middle of the night to watch races on the other side of the world, it's certainly sparked his interest, which is all the better for me, as I'm not banished to the portable telly to watch.

Louise Porter

I remember hearing about Senna's death while I was at University I knew who he was and thought that it was a really sad thing to have happened, but that was the extent of my feelings on the subject.

All these years later and my formula 1 mad friend Charlotte convinced me to go watch the film with her. My expectations were low as I have never had any interest in Formula 1 and would much rather be going to see a romcom with a hollywood leading man, than a documentary about a someone I knew nothing about. Even worse, a bit like the film Titanic, I knew the story was going to end badly.

Much to my surprise I was completely taken aback by the story of this passionate and captivating man, who seemed to be able to stretch the boundaries of his ability and who was ultimately so tragically unlucky.

I have always thought formula 1 was about clever engineers who make very fast cars and all the drivers have to do is drive them around in a fast procession. However seeing Senna drained and incoherent after the race where he finished despite his gearbox failure, made me appreciate how skilful, brave and committed a racing car driver has to be.

Senna was a truly amazing sportsman who seemed to operate at the very edge of his limits. He was the ultimate competitor but also seemed to truly care about the sport and the welfare of his fellow drivers. I hope that he would have been proud of the legacy he has left of hugely improved safety in the sport and lessons learned.

After seeing the film I can see why Senna has been an inspiration to so many Formula 1 fans like my friend Charlotte. I myself have been inspired to start giving this sport the attention it deserves. Whilst I may never be the biggest fan, I will always appreciate that those very fast processions around Formula 1 circuits, involve an unimaginable level of physical and mental dedication.

I wanted to go to the cinema to see a romcom, but what I saw was a story of passion and acheivement that was far better than anything Hollywood could offer. Senna truly was a real-life leading man both in his profession and in the example he set to others. I just wish I'd paid more attention to his story as it was unfolding all those years ago, rather than now it is over....

Louise Porter

oops meant to say that I saw the film at Showcase in Birstall......


My mate Charles dragged me along to one of the few showings of Senna at The Carmarthen Apollo on 21st June. As I normally prefer the rallying action of the WRC and not the normal procession of F1, I was surprised by the passion and emotion portrayed by Aryton and the other protagonists in that era. Charles then also persuaded me to watch the European GP at his house on the following Sunday, and whilst the characters have changed the emotion and excitement has not. I am sure a visit to Silverstone, and the smell of petrol and the sound of the engines would cement my growing interest in Formula 1.

Lindsey Bennett

F1 used to be interchangeable with the cricket, golf and horse racing for me; an intolerably boring presence on Saturday afternoon TV of unintelligible figures transposed over a slowly panning image of a field or a course or a track. It meant nothing to me.

Now I’ve watched all 8 races of the season so far – most of the qualifiers too - watched Senna at The Cornerhouse, Manchester and enjoyed the Valencia Grand Prix from the Nazzarat stands (N3) surrounded by red flags, rampant stallions and delighted fans, sucking up the power of the engines. That’s a look at my ‘season so far’ and according to my sponsor I’ve ‘taken’ to it.

I realise that I find the gradual revelation of the many elements that constitute Formula 1, fascinating; then trying to get all the elements to stick together in my mind, work out their interplay and just about grasp the story behind a becoming a winner.

Setting aside all those eventualities, a universal attraction to any sport is to the personalities involved. And Senna demonstrates this perfectly as he deservedly captured a sport and a nation in his quest for victory, and loved his country and his sport right back. What made this champion special even amongst the other titans of sport is that he didn’t seem self-centered despite his complete focus.

I didn’t know in which race Senna died so throughout I was in a state of horrible nervous suspense, ridiculously willing him to live. Perhaps that irrational feeling is something like the experience of being a driver, careering round corners at 200mph for 15 years of your life; maybe it’s what allows an engineer to leave home to work on a part of car in foreign places around the world year after year after year. Or it could just be the first taste of becoming a fan.


My fiancé is a F1 fan and took me to see the Senna film at the Curzon, Soho.


F1 never appealed to me; it was just a group of cars going round in circles.

As I watched the Senna film I gradually started to get intrigued about his personality and why he was pushing so much.

My interest in the film grew, I wanted him to win and was drawn into the races.

I got an appreciation of things that can go wrong, which created greater tension.

Because I enjoyed the buzz and tension of the races in the film I think I'll try and catch the next race live to see if this is what it's like in real life. 


Vibeke Hansen

I've never understood or entertained my fiancé's twenty year obsession with Formula 1. I've successfully avoided watching a single race and have spent countless Sundays as a Grand Prix widow. For the past year since he discovered they were making a movie about his favourite driver Senna he has waged a remorseless campaign to go see it with him. Rejection after rejection seemed to simply embolden him however I thought I'd finally succeeded until Sunday 12th of June this year.

Having been finally trapped by a combination of rain both in the UK and a monsoon in Canada my usual Sunday evening was rudely interrupted by a delayed GP. Through gritted teeth however I had to admit I could begin to see that it wasn't just and endless procession of advertising hoardings circling at 200mph and finally caved in to his demands to see the movie.

I had no preconceptions beyond thinking that 90 minutes of my life I would lose that could have been better spent doing pretty much anything else. By the end of seeing it at the Curzon in Soho I was however emotionally drained as the rest of the devotees in the cinema and regretted putting up such a fight (although would never admit it). Seeing the sport he loves so much writ large on the big screen was amazing and I loved the human element and the passion and drama it foments. I won't pretend it was a Road to Damascus moment but I am certainly softening and have agreed (to my friends amazement) go and watch one race this year. (Only one however... 🙂 )


Last year when my boyfriend asked me, very excitedly, to watch a trailer for a film about a Formula One driver I agreed, supportively, being well aware of his passion for the sport. I sat there expecting lots of engine noise and fast editing but what I found was a real story, a story that began to draw me in. My boyfriend praised him like a hero. He showed me footage of Ayrton stopping his car at the scene of an accident to run back and help his stricken comrade. I had never seen anything like it before. I wanted to see this film.

Soon after release we saw it in the IFI, Dublin.

What we saw was a film about a man who managed to represent an entire sport through the narrative woven around his short life. A sport which makes demands. A sport which demands passion, demands the desire to win, demands all the limits are pushed in the drive to victory. A man who seemed to live closer to that limit than those before or since. A man who routinely faced death who seemed to want to live fully exposed to the realities of his passion.

I saw a very human story about racing, rivalry and risk. A story about two diametrically different men with the same goal, the cool calculating king and the charging usurper, both driving for the same victory.

I saw something I couldn't quite understand, a fine balance between the need to win, to live on the limit, and the need to keep the racing pure. I see that this need to find the limit and push on it still defines F1 today, from driver to engineer. And though I still don't quite understand it, this willing exposure to danger, it has sparked something in me, I think I would like to see the spectacle up close.


I went to see Senna on a man-date with my new housemate. I had no interest in F1 but I thought it would be a good bonding experience, particularly as said housemate had been talking at length about how great the film was going to be for weeks.

Anyway, thoughts on the film. I was genuinely fascinated by the psychological aspect of the sport, which was conveyed brilliantly in the film. I had always perceived racing drivers as one-dimensional and dull, but the film gave an excellent insight into the cerebral element of the sport. The rivalry between Senna and Prost, driven by a complicated dynamic of respect and fear, really showed the human side to what I previously thought were faceless men cloaked in a disguise of a helmet and advertising.

Another element of the film that really stayed with me was the use of the in-car camera shots, which conveyed the immense speed that these athletes are going. Whilst logically I knew that these were very fast cars, any experience I had of viewing F1 previously was not able to show the difficulty of negotiating these fragile objects. The film successfully did so, and again, presented the human element, with Senna going through obvious agony to finish the Brazilian (I think) grand prix with a car stuck in sixth gear.

All in all, a great experience and a great insight into a sport far more complex than I had imagined.

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Multi award winning Formula One photographer

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