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.

Featured Innovation
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

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)?!


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


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!


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


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

for the record i thought it was cool


Wow an incredible idea... Good Luck Honda and McLaren !


What's with the pain inducing high pitched tones?

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


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.


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


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. 🙂


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.


Actually it was by Andy Williams.


That was really a god one.

You'll find it under "Impossible Dream". There's also a v2


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.


Very cool.


Amazing tribute to an amazing racing driver.


Shivers down the spine.


...arm hair standing on end!


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


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


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


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..


I got goose bumps as I watched it....


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


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 🙂


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 🙂


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 🙂



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


Yep, you don't get it..... 😉


You just don't get it.


Nope, you just don't get it.

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


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.


...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.


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


"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...


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


'Video was pretty cool, though'

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


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.


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


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


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 😉


Who's concerned with cost?

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


Wonderful! 🙂


Spine chilling. Amazing.

Valentino from montreal

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 !!


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.


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


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




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.


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


Vacuous eye- and ear candy...


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


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...')


Japanise are very good in reminiscence of things

Honda, should play the song by Chris Andrews

" I am her yesterday man ".


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!


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.


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


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.


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




Simply amazing piece of art! Brilliant in every respect. Reminded me of this:

Totally different sound but same "medium"!


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


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


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.

Top Tags
SEARCH Innovation
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!