I was fresh out of kindergarten when Senna had started racing in F1. I was in the middle of high school when he died. I can’t remember if I watched him die. I do remember nothing of even remotely similar significance happening in that year.
All of my, what is called, ‘formative years’, Ayrton Senna had been a presence. The 1988-1992 GP seasons were, for my generation, the peak time in the history of the sport. In the bleak years of late communism and early transformation, there was simply no better television. The rivalry between Prost and Senna. The year-long reality show, always with a gripping finale in Japan, was better than any reality show any tv exec would ever dream of in the future. Our mothers had their first soap operas, we had Formula 1, first on the television screens, then shoddily re-enacted on our Amigas and Ataris and first PCs.
I was always driving Williams. My brother preferred McLaren.
The drivers back then were like superheroes, even their personalities were straight out of comic books. An evil, arrogant Frenchman. A youthful, Luke Skywalker-like protagonist from a poor but proud country. A mustachioed English gentleman, always proper and always just, and his trusty Italian sidekick who tried hard but never amounted to much. And, by the end of the period, the slowly growing shadow of the German-built cyborg that would once conquer them all, the Schuminator.
Watching them all fight was like watching the Gods bicker.
The movie “Senna” is now available on Youtube Films in UK.