The Greatest
October 14, 2011 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Senna is a documentary about one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time (if not the greatest) - Ayrton Senna - and covers his career, personality and untimely death at the age of 34.

A three-time world champion, Senna was not only a favorite of F1 fans but also well regarded and liked by fellow drivers - with the exception of his teammate, Alain Prost, of course.

His tragic death occurred while he was leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, in a season where Senna was increasingly vocalizing concerns about driver safety to F1 officials and after another driver had died the same weekend in a qualifying session.

Senna was considered the hope of Brazil and was loved by fans for his personality and noted humble nature - a rarity among Formula One drivers.

He was considered unstoppable in the rain, and a demonstration of his driving technique highlights why he dominated during his short career.
posted by glaucon (81 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Top Gear did a surprisingly un-Top Gear like tribute segment for Aryton Senna. I highly recommend it to those who don't understand just how good, and how important, Senna was to the racing world.
posted by eriko at 8:19 AM on October 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


We're not at all into auto racing, but I've heard this movie is good. For those who have seen it, is it pretty accessible for people who know nothing about the culture?
posted by Madamina at 8:20 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, like that heel and toe video makes no sense to me, but other people in the comments are very "oh wow that is amazing!"
posted by smackfu at 8:21 AM on October 14, 2011


Not having been an auto racing enthusiast during his lifetime, I was unfamiliar with him until that Top Gear piece that eriko linked to. It really did a nice job of introducing him and explaining why everyone who knows of his accomplishments were so impressed with his driving.

There is a piece where they show him starting five or so cars back, and taking the lead within the first minute or so of the race. It is, quite frankly, astonishing. And it speaks volumes to both his skill and hunger for winning.

I'm really looking forward to the film to get a more in depth look at the man's life.
posted by quin at 8:28 AM on October 14, 2011


is it pretty accessible for people who know nothing about the culture? -Madamina

I've always been a huge Formula 1 fan (Senna was my favorite driver when I was young - I watched his accident with my dad when I was 8), but I took my wife and a friend to Senna and they both really enjoyed it without any real knowledge of who Senna was or Formula 1. The film assumes that some audience members might not have any idea how Formula 1 functions, but has enough tidbits for die-hard fans to really get a lot out of it.
posted by glaucon at 8:31 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


is it pretty accessible for people who know nothing about the culture?

For what it's worth, at my theatre we had some people walk out complaining that the niche nature of the subject matter made the movie impenetrable. I saw it, and I know nothing about F1 at all, but I thought it was very well done and pretty interesting. If you don't know anything about Formula 1 but have some level of interest in learning, that's probably enough.
posted by penduluum at 8:36 AM on October 14, 2011


Yeah, like that heel and toe video makes no sense to me, but other people in the comments are very "oh wow that is amazing!"

In a car with a standard transmission, the driver has to handle, with his or her feet, three different controls of progressive intensity: the clutch, the brake and the accelerator. They are not on-or-off, and they need to be worked in conjunction with each other. These controls, on racecars, are very sensitive to the slightest input, and must be maintained constantly and carefully by the driver.

If you mess up the clutch, you'll stall out. If you mess up the brake, you'll slow down to much and lose speed coming out of the turn, or you won't slow down enough and wind up in the weeds. If the engine doesn't get enough gas, even when you're slowing, it will be difficult to get back up to speed, and if it gets too much, you'll stall the engine while trying to shift gears.

If you mess up the balance, you'll either crash or lose the race.

Three sensitive controls. Worked at once. With only two feet. At 200mph.

Watch the video again, and keep an eye on the pedals. Senna, in his loafers, has suppleness and rhythm and style in his technique. It's like watching a great guitarist shred - it should be a mechanistic thing to produce reliable results, but it's just not. A great racer requires great artistry. He had it in abundance.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:37 AM on October 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Senna was spectacular. There is a video of the karting event a lot of F1 drivers competed in that shows a little more of the technique of Senna versus other drivers. Well worth watching, as a lot of truly excellent drivers were there and they got thoroughly spanked by Prost and Senna (although the much maligned Andrea DeCesaris showed well).

Senna's driving in that Honda NSX video is just so ragged and raw and it really shouldn't work but he was just so fast and had such incredible car control he just drive the wheels off whatever he got into no matter what. Engineering the two McLarens to suit the vastly different styles of Prost (uber-smooth) and Senna (banzai nutter wheel and foot inputs) must have been a complete nightmare.

The Imola weekend was a sad day for the sport - Roland Ratzenberger (the other driver that died) was a close friend of Senna and a rising star.
posted by Brockles at 8:38 AM on October 14, 2011


This is a terrific film, and I urge everyone to see it in a theater, despite the rather poor quality of the transfers.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:40 AM on October 14, 2011


I had never watched Formula 1, but I LOVED Senna. It was fascinating and moving and personality driven. It's definitely one of my favorite movies from this year.
posted by bayliss at 8:43 AM on October 14, 2011


I saw the trailer for this over the summer. It looked pretty interesting to me as someone who knows nothing about F1, so I'm glad to see the positive reviews. I've missed it at the theater but I've added it to my Netflix queue for when it comes out on DVD.
posted by immlass at 8:50 AM on October 14, 2011


If you mess up the clutch, you'll stall out. If you mess up the brake, you'll slow down too much and lose speed coming out of the turn, or you won't slow down enough and wind up in the weeds.If the engine doesn't get enough gas, even when you're slowing, it will be difficult to get back up to speed, and if it gets too much, you'll stall the engine while trying to shift gears.

Sorry, I can't leave that one alone. This is not what heel and toe is about, nor are the consequences as described. The car will only stall when you are pulling away from rest. Heel and toe is only done at speed under heavy braking.

The only reason you need throttle when slowing is to smooth the transition of the gear selection as you downshift (say from 4th to 3rd gear) during the braking zone. The engine will not stall if you get this wrong but the gear will either be selected with a bit of a jolt (and you risk locking the rear wheels or destabilising the car enough to spin the car) or the gear may not go in at all and/or damage the gearbox (and make you spin, depending on how it goes).

With a clutched gearshift (as in the video) the throttle is used as follows:

Driver brakes to a point where he is at a low enough speed to start to select the next gear.
Clutch is depressed - engine revs drop as a result (faster than if the gear was still engaged).
Driver moves gear lever with clutch depressed into new gear.
Driver revs the engine just before (or as) the clutch is released to raise the revolutions of the engine to (as closely as possible) match the speed the engine will be turning when the clutch is engaged and the engine is solidly linked to the wheels again.

The difference between Revs (engaged) and Revs (free/not engaged) is the issue - it takes energy and is a big input in terms of balance of the car. If the engine is within 1-200 rpm of optimum when the clutch is engaged it is a relatively minor event. If the engine is 1000-1500 rpm out of sync, then it is a big instability to the driven wheels as the wheels need to accelerate the engine ('spin it up' as it were) to the right speed very quickly. This causes (usually) the rear of the car to be loose and is a major issue if you are braking at the limit of the cars ability before the gear change.

Any issues with getting back up to speed from heel and toe are because you had to slow more than usual in the braking zone. You can't add throttle in the braking zones to improve your exit speed beyond that mentioned. You can only slow the required amount as smoothly and efficiently as possible and make sure your mid corner speed is as high as possible (given a proper dynamic balance at that point through correct entry).
posted by Brockles at 8:57 AM on October 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


The crash in the first corner in suzuka '90 with Prost is possibly the most assholish, unsportsmanlike, reckless move of all times in any sport. It was deliberate, it could have killed the both of them (those cars were racing tombs), and to top it all it allowed him to claim the world title away from Prost. Four years later the frenchman was a pallbearer at his funeral.
posted by valdesm at 9:01 AM on October 14, 2011


Let me just append Brockles' comment that another part of heel toeing is matching revs enough to make non-synchromesh gearboxes actually go into gear.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:06 AM on October 14, 2011


The crash in the first corner in suzuka '90 with Prost is possibly the most assholish, unsportsmanlike, reckless move of all times in any sport.

I'd say no more arsehole-ish and unsportsmanlike than Prost driving into Senna the previous year and winning the championship the exact same way (albeit at a slower speed). I find it difficult to see the two incidents damning one over the other, to be perfectly frank.
posted by Brockles at 9:10 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me just append Brockles' comment that another part of heel toeing is matching revs enough to make non-synchromesh gearboxes actually go into gear.

Agreed, but you can shift without the clutch in non-syncro-boxes so it's a whole different ballgame (which is why I specified with a clutch). If you don't need the clutch, then you should be braking with your left foot, for a start...
posted by Brockles at 9:12 AM on October 14, 2011


Erm, are you forgetting about double clutching?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:20 AM on October 14, 2011


We're not at all into auto racing, but I've heard this movie is good. For those who have seen it, is it pretty accessible for people who know nothing about the culture?

It's perfectly accessible, but not that... interesting. Contrary to some of the reports, it is very much about F1 racing, and you kind of have to care about it to really dig the film, I think. It is kind of a cool doc though, in that it consists entirely out of archive footage (no talking head interviews).
posted by eugenen at 9:22 AM on October 14, 2011


Double clutching is not necessary in racing cars (the context we are discussing). It only needs to be done in large and heavy machinery that has a lot of momentum in the gear train. Commercial vehicles and the like.
posted by Brockles at 9:22 AM on October 14, 2011


I remember Senna, but I haven't really followed F1 for about 10 years now - is Senna considered greater than Andretti was?
posted by spicynuts at 9:28 AM on October 14, 2011


I agree that it's not necessary in the contemporary-ish race cars that Senna drove. But I have seen double-clutching in the vintage classes (edge cases, yes but I can't lose a thread so early in the morning waaaaahhhhhh)
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:29 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That Top Gear piece was fantastic and got me excited enough to make this movie one of my must-sees. Thanks so much.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:33 AM on October 14, 2011


Sorry, I can't leave that one alone.

You've explained why I've oversimplified and fudged things to an audience who knows I oversimplified and fudged things. Now explain it to someone who's never driven a stick and has only seen racing in "Cars 2."
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:34 AM on October 14, 2011


I don't think you can compare both incidents at all. Prost was 16 points ahead of senna in 89, he would have been world champion even by finishing 4th or 5th at that race. Senna was 10 points ahead in 1990, and this is corner 1, Prost had just gotten ahead of him, and later Senna would confess to having deliberately crashed. At a high speed corner vs. a low-speed chicane in 89.
posted by valdesm at 9:35 AM on October 14, 2011


For those who have seen it, is it pretty accessible for people who know nothing about the culture?

I'm a long time F1 fan, so I already knew the Senna story very well when I saw the movie -- maybe not every detail, but most of them. My take on the movie is that it's probably better for those who don't already know the story, simply because it is such a fascinating and rich introduction to a unique and other world, and one of its doomed and beautiful princes. For me, there were too many key details and story fragments glossed over or ignored completely (for instance, no mention of the 1993 European Grand Prix at Donnington). But if you don't know what's missing, you just roll with what's there.

And yeah, there's enough there -- assuming you care at all about sports, or culture, or just fascinating human beings. At worst, I imagine it would be like tuning into a cool motor race that's already started. No, you won't have a complete grasp of what's going on, but the full force of the event itself (the drama, the danger, the beauty) should hook you.

Enjoy.
posted by philip-random at 9:36 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought the film was quite awful save some nice footage. As an F1 fan it lacks any sort of analysis about how he drove (other than fast and into people), what made him quick, how he drove in the rain, etc.

It is sadly lacking in detail as well, such as the disgust McLaren had with him after taking Prost out at Suzuka (only Ron Dennis congratulated him).

It's mostly just a "wasn't he great" film and "he was flawed but man he was so innocent and anything he did that was bad was other people's fault."

As an F1 fan I expected an in depth documentary about one of F1's greatest talents to be about how he was so good in F1. Instead I got a lets worship Senna film. Very disappointed. I watch a lot of documentaries and this one is very poor.
posted by juiceCake at 9:37 AM on October 14, 2011


On the clutch technique vs. modern cars, Alonso drove a clutchless ferrari for most of sepang 2010 race, using the accelerator to engage the gear. I think his engine ended up breaking, but you know, props to him for not just giving up when most other drivers would have done so.
posted by valdesm at 9:38 AM on October 14, 2011


Senna, in his loafers, has suppleness and rhythm and style in his technique

Very true, but legend or no, cordovan with white socks is a big não-não.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:38 AM on October 14, 2011


I found the movie to be fairly mediocre.

It gave very little background info or personal information on who Senna was as an individual, what he was like as a child etc etc etc ... it started with his move to Europe to pursue a racing career, and covered that aspect of his life more or less exclusively.

It also painted things with a pretty broad brush. Alain Prost was a bad, bad man, and had that evil Jean-Marie Balestre conspire to take from poor, poor put-upon Ayrton what was rightfully his. While Senna was never portrayed of doing anything wrong, ever, at all, under any circumstances.

The movie came across as having this underling thread of "He was the greatest racing driver of all time, and if you can't admit that, then you're just jealous." But given that it was made by Senna fans, for Senna fans, and partially bank-rolled by his sister, this bias wasn't all that surprising.

It was just another chapter in the further beatification of Saint Ayrton, The Greatest Racing Driver of All Time, No Foolin'!

I just would have liked to see something deeper and more balanced that would have given the viewer insights into the whole person, show us who he was outside of a racecar, show us his successes as well as his failings.

But, the filmmakers didn't, so yeah, fairly mediocre.
posted by Relay at 9:47 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've explained why I've oversimplified and fudged things to an audience who knows I oversimplified and fudged things.

It was the misleading factual inaccuracies that bothered me. Simplifying is great, but not at the expense of accuracy.

On the clutch technique vs. modern cars, Alonso drove a clutchless ferrari for most of sepang 2010 race, using the accelerator to engage the gear.

The clutch is not used to engage gears when actually moving - it is used in pulling away and stopping only in a racing car. The issue with Alonso's (as I understand it) was that it was failing to provide drive to the gearbox the whole time - slipping, basically, and it affected gear shifting as a side effect of the the main issue. He didn't use the accelerator to engage the gears - that isn't possible. The clutch issue meant that the gears engaging caused it to slip, which is why he also had issues with on/off throttle (which you can see in the in-car footage) in places he didn't need to shift (between Turn 1 and Turn 2 particularly).
posted by Brockles at 9:57 AM on October 14, 2011


I don't think you can compare both incidents at all. ...later Senna would confess to having deliberately crashed.

Oh, I don't think it excuses the '90 incident. Senna did feel incredibly slighted by Prost taking him out the year before, but his 'revenge' was a bit over the top. It was dangerous, sure, but not potentially fatal by any means (the run off at that corner is immense). It was a low point in his career, but not exactly unprovoked is my perspective.

Also, Prost is french.
posted by Brockles at 10:00 AM on October 14, 2011


I loved the movie even though I didn't really get into F1 until after Senna died.

A small criticism I have is that when it was telling the story of how Senna wasn't happy with which side of the track the pole position was on at Suzuka there was a clip of him talking to someone in the FIA (Balestre?) about it but the clip was actually from another race earlier that year - possibly Germany.

I thought the most interesting thing about the video showing his driving technique was how aggressive he was with the throttle on corner entry. He was stabbing away at it rather than being smooth and progressive.
posted by neilb449 at 10:06 AM on October 14, 2011


I'm sorry, but Alain Prost turned into Ayrton Senna's car in 1990. Watching the film, Senna had the inside line and Prost turned into him.

I definitely agree that Senna was close to Prost, but he did not turn into him and turning to the right would have put him over the curb and onto the grass.
posted by glaucon at 10:10 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


He was stabbing away at it rather than being smooth and progressive.

I always think the same thing about steering techniques whenever I watch pro drivers. Does that just have to do with the speed? You'd think they'd be butter smooth but it's always really abrupt 30 DEGREES, ZERO DEGREES, 45 DEGREES, ZERO DEGREES...
posted by nathancaswell at 10:14 AM on October 14, 2011


I think it's because of the tires pushing back on the steering harness as the rubber is forced to change directions. It's the tires fighting the road to turn and the driver battling to stay on his trajectory. I think.
posted by spicynuts at 10:27 AM on October 14, 2011


I actually agree with mostly everybody in that he was the best pilot, you only had to see him drive a wet lap. I was trying to point out that he was far from perfect (somehow like Maradona's hand of god affair). But even if you're not a god you can be a great human being, as demonstrated by having the guy involved in that nasty incident be a pallbearer in your funeral.

On preview, glaucon, that's what the brake is for, you don't have the inside if you're behind, the driver in front is expected to close the gap as Prost did, and Senna was very aware of this.
posted by valdesm at 10:29 AM on October 14, 2011


I'm sorry, but Alain Prost turned into Ayrton Senna's car in 1990. Watching the film, Senna had the inside line and Prost turned into him.

I definitely agree that Senna was close to Prost, but he did not turn into him and turning to the right would have put him over the curb and onto the grass.


Racing rules. Unless you're fully alongside, you've got to yield the corner to the leading car. Senna was not fully alongside. It's likely Prost couldn't even see him there. He took his corner as was his right ... and Senna even admitted as much later, his point being that Prost had pulled the same shit on him in the past.
posted by philip-random at 10:30 AM on October 14, 2011


Ah, I see. As always, good education on MeFi.

I think that Prost would have seen him, though, but I guess it doesn't make sense that Prost would sabotage his chances at a world championship to get back at Senna.

One thing I KNOW is a fact: Senna was a better driver than I am. I'm serious, everyone. Way better. I know I pilot a pretty mean 2003 Saturn Vue, but he was really, really good. Like, stupid good.

If you don't believe me, I'd be happy to demonstrate in my Vue that he was better.
posted by glaucon at 10:35 AM on October 14, 2011


Wait, zombie Senna is available for one-on-one races?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:37 AM on October 14, 2011


He was stabbing away at it rather than being smooth and progressive.

That was kind of the genius of Senna. It shouldn't have worked, his technique, but it just....did. It is awful and fundamentally wrong to hit the throttle on corner entry. Totally wrong. Like horrible and if I am looking at your data traces from the car I'll yell at you, Mr Racing Driver. It unsettles the car horrifically and removes mid corner balance and damages exit speed as a result. It is, without question, a worse technique that will produce a slower lap.

But Senna didn't give a shit about that. He just did it anyway and was damn well faster and... well, fuck you physics, frankly.
posted by Brockles at 10:58 AM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


cordovan with white socks is a big não-não.

I just assumed he was Catholic.
posted by yerfatma at 11:09 AM on October 14, 2011


I think it's because of the tires pushing back on the steering harness as the rubber is forced to change directions.

Um. No. Abrupt steering inputs are not necessarily a sign of not being smooth.

Racing drivers should be smooth and progressive, but what is hard to fathom for us mere mortals is that because everything is so knife edge and responsive the seemingly instantaneous inputs to the wheel are smooth in the context of the car itself. Smooth does not in any way demand slow inputs.

As long as the steering lock is applied at a constant rate (ie no jerkiness within the movement itself, regardless of how fast) then the only limitation as to how fast you can turn the wheel is how fast the components react - damping, springs, tyre sidewall, tyre surface, body roll of the car etc. They put in quick movements to the wheel because they can. If the car is capable of allowing you an almost instantaneous transition between 'straight ahead' and 'now I am cornering', then you have to use that ability.

It'd only be jerky and non-smooth if those inputs were tried on a touring car, or road car or similar. The inputs suit the machine.

Watch a Red Bull Air Race in-cockpit view. Then watch it from outside. You see a plane gracefully making very precise attitude adjustments and curving beautifully. Yet inside is some old guy huffing and puffing and yanking on the control stick like he's trying to snap it off. He is being violent with the plane because he can and it is faster.
posted by Brockles at 11:16 AM on October 14, 2011


Madamina: "We're not at all into auto racing, but I've heard this movie is good. For those who have seen it, is it pretty accessible for people who know nothing about the culture?"

The winner of James Allen's Convert a Sceptical Friend to F1 with Senna Contest over the summer thought so.

Before seeing the movie she said, I hated F1 and could not see its appeal silly men sitting in silly cars going round and round. Afterwards she said, 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. [sic] 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.

The prize was a VIP trip to see the British Grand Prix, and Ms. Fox said she had a amazing experience.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:16 AM on October 14, 2011


Er, make that an amazing experience.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:17 AM on October 14, 2011




I saw this in the theater recently, and was pleasantly surprised. The larger-than-life personality of Balestre, and the rivalry between Senna and Prost was so great that if I didn't know it was a documentary, I would have thought it was scripted.
posted by Premeditated Symmetry Breaking at 11:30 AM on October 14, 2011


Oh, I feel a palindrome coming on....

No win, Ayrton Senna -- Anne's not Ryan. I won.
posted by msalt at 11:56 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'm sorry, but Alain Prost turned into Ayrton Senna's car in 1990. "

And yeah, I know this has been covered elsewhere in this thread, but I think it's also worth noting that this was contradicted by Senna himself.

Later, during the off-season I believe, Senna said that the night before, when the stewards said that they would hold to their decision and be having him start on the dirty side of the track, was when he decided to take Prost out at the first corner deliberately, both as a fuck you to Prost and the FIA for what Senna felt was too many incidents of Senna being jerked around by them.

It has long been my opinion that the FIA's mishandling of the Prost/Senna incidents (both of them) is what lead to a lot of their continued screwing up in dealing with various screw ups (Schumacher and etc.) through the years.

The Prost/Senna incident at the chicane is debatable (it always struck me as being bloody-minded opportunity on Prost's part, as if he he saw Senna try too optimistic of a move too late and simply said, "Silly boy, I'll just be done with you now."), but the incident in 1990 was so blatant and, as Senna later admitted, completely premeditated, that the FIA's failure to fall on him like a ton of bricks showed that they could be easily swayed by factors outside of the rule book and outside of general sportsmanship.

One of the general, base-line ideas in any sort of sport is that the rules are the rules, and if you get caught breaking them, then you get penalized, but the FIA has shown that certain drivers and teams are more important to them (or, more accurately, to the commercial interests of the sport) then the fair and just applications of the rules.

They had a chance in the late 80s and early 90s to say, "Nope, we don't care how big you are ... " and set some meaningful precedents, but they didn't. And, as a result, there seem to be growing gray areas of what is and isn't against the rules.

But it's not like that's all that different from any other sport ... Like NASCAR would permanently ban Dale Jr. if they found him running nitrous oxide or something along those lines.
posted by Relay at 1:06 PM on October 14, 2011


The Prost/Senna incident at the chicane is debatable

Honestly it really isn't if you have seen the overhead footage. Prost absolutely drove into Senna - at the point he turned in, he'd have been on the grass with his left hand wheels several feet the wrong side of the kerbs.

I assume the overhead view is not readily available because it stops the move being ambiguous by any means. Prost, without question, drove into Senna rather than let him pass. They weren't even far enough into the corner to even raise the question of who would have had to cede the apex.
posted by Brockles at 1:32 PM on October 14, 2011


I assume the overhead view is not readily available because it stops the move being ambiguous by any means.

No it doesn't. I assume that people have different opinions because they see what is proper racing in different ways. Hence the debate continues.
posted by juiceCake at 1:38 PM on October 14, 2011


Ok, how else do you explain Prost turning into that corner more than 50 yards early then? Just a difference in line?

If Prost had continued that line, he'd have missed all of the kerbing as he drove around the grassy side of it. He had absolutely no need at all to turn in that early and Senna would have got the corner if Prost had waited until he normally turned in. Prost prevented the pass by deliberately contacting Senna's car - there is no way, no how, that was a genuine good faith attempt to enter the corner even on a defensive line.

It is no less cynical or deliberate than the 1990 incident. It's just the 1990 was premeditated - I suspect Prost just turned into Senna because he had nothing to lose if he did, and a potential championship to lose if he didn't.
posted by Brockles at 1:43 PM on October 14, 2011


Does anybody know the background for how they repaired or at least became amicable enough for Prost to be a pallbearer at the funeral? Prost is also a trustee of the Senna foundation, so was it merely a case of competitiveness in those few seasons they raced for McLaren together?
posted by glaucon at 1:49 PM on October 14, 2011


Can't explain it. I'm not Prost. I can't explain why Senna, later in the same footage you linked to, doesn't dive up the inside of car at the same chicane. Why did he do it for Prost and not the other car? Why does Senna turn in where Prost did but for Prost it's apparently "50 yards" earlier than he usually would (he'd have to be turning in half way after 130R to be turning in 50 yards earlier.

Some thing it was Webber's fault at Turkey last year while others, like myself, see the fault in Vettel. Debate continues.

My opinion is just that. To say that something is unambiguous is fine but others will disagree. James Hunt does as well, as do many others. I respect your viewpoint, but I don't share it. At best I'd call it a racing incident (and we have tons of those) and at worst, Senna being very optimistic and hoping Prost would just turn over).
posted by juiceCake at 1:50 PM on October 14, 2011


On topic: The movie is good. As a fan, I have a few issues, but IMO it's an excellent piece of cinema and I've heard many non-fans saying that they enjoyed it.

On the '89 crash... it's less clear-cut than the 1990 one. Senna's move came from a long way back, and was very aggressive. It was characteristic of him as a driver, in that it said "Get out of my way or we will have an accident". Prost chose option B, which to a certain extent he is entitled to do. Cynical, yes, but both drivers have a responsibility to avoid contact.

Glaucon: I understand the reconciliation came partially due to Prost's retirement - when Prost was no longer a rival, Senna no longer treated him as such.
posted by Urtylug at 1:56 PM on October 14, 2011


Does anybody know the background for how they repaired or at least became amicable enough for Prost to be a pallbearer at the funeral? Prost is also a trustee of the Senna foundation, so was it merely a case of competitiveness in those few seasons they raced for McLaren together?

The only driver Senna respected as a racer to measure himself up against was Prost. When Prost left the sport (a couple of years after Senna had the gall to call him a coward for not wanting Senna as a team mate, well who would want such a political and destructive driver as a team mate?) Senna warmed to him and was pretty upset with being beaten by Schumacher, so much so he classlessly implied Schumacher was a cheat. Prost often says Senna changed significantly in his later years and came to be able step out of always in competition mode. But it was between them so none of us can ever know and this documentary will give you absolutely no insight into that aspect.

Probably a case of what many of us have experienced, we often don't appreciate much about someone else until much later, or until we've grown older. But apparently Senna was talking to Alain quite a lot during 1994, but not for long since he died at Tamburello corner at Imola early in the season, the day after Roland Ratzenberger died at Villeneuve. It was a pretty bad weekend. I remember it rather well to this day.
posted by juiceCake at 2:00 PM on October 14, 2011


in that it said "Get out of my way or we will have an accident". Prost chose option B, which to a certain extent he is entitled to do.

I do believe that Prost made that decision. However, I do believe that he chose to force that outcome much earlier than it was needed/inevitable. Both drivers could have negotiated the corner safely (unlike 1990) but Prost clearly decided he'd rather crash than risk Senna passing him. This was not in any way a racing accident - where two drivers head into the same piece of road that they are both arguably entitled to. There's more to it than that, and the extra is cynical and unsportsmanlike and is the seed for Senna's actions the following year.
posted by Brockles at 2:03 PM on October 14, 2011


I disagree.

The documentary does agree with you though, in that they cast Senna as naive innocent and if he did anything unsportsmanlike, it was because someone else did it to him. Not a nice way to live or fashion one's behaviour.

We see the same thing with Alonso and Hamilton. Alonso was just an asshole because Hamilton was. It was Prost and Hamilton's fault sort of nonsense.

You could say that Senna was optimistic trying that pass and Prost was optimistic closing the door as he was entitled to (even on Senna) and both should have known better. That spells racing incident to me.
posted by juiceCake at 2:27 PM on October 14, 2011


All the talk about whether Senna was the best driver ever is disingenuous. Prost really was his equal, but Alain's driving style was milque toast. Senna's flamboyant style could extract more out of a car at its limit. Unfortunately, he often drove over the limit and lost championship points that Prost reaped over the long haul. The fan favorite will always be the more brash of two drivers. That's why Senna was such a hero to me growing up. If you ever watch the 1984 Monaco GP footage of Senna in the rain in his woefully under-powered and under-financed Toleman-Hart, you'll see what made him different.
posted by machaus at 4:35 PM on October 14, 2011


Jackie Stewart Godwinned all the discussion around the '89 crash, "I don't doubt that Senna always genuinely believe's he's right, but well, Hitler believed he was in the right. 'I don't run into people,' he said. 'Come on Ayrton,' I said, 'it can't always be the other guy who's at fault...' but no, he wouldn't have it. It's a great mistake, deluding yourself." as quoted in Richard Williams, The Death of Ayrton Senna (Bloomsbury, 1999) p. 122
posted by shoesfullofdust at 5:00 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Still waiting to see this as it's not available in China yet. Senna was a childhood hero of mine for all of his faults.
posted by arcticseal at 5:20 PM on October 14, 2011


"Jackie Stewart Godwinned all the discussion ... "

True, but that doesn't mean Jackie Stewart was wrong.

Look, I'm pretty much in the John Surtees camp when it comes to Stewart. When Surtees said (not that long ago) 'That insufferable bastard (or maybe it was tool or prick) ruined The Nürburgring with all his safety crap.' I pretty much agree with that.

But being insufferable doesn't mean he's wrong, and that's something that I noticed about Senna almost from the get-go: He had a really bad time handling back-markers. Other people pointed it out to me at the time as well. I just stopped counting the times, and so did a lot of Senna fans; they just sort of accepted it as a flaw. But Senna never seemed to noticed it in the slightest.

Mario Andretti said, "Look, you gotta have a pretty well developed sense of me first as a racer, but you also got to know when there's a gap." And Senna expected people to get out of his way, rather than having to maneuver around them.
posted by Relay at 6:55 PM on October 14, 2011


I know nothing about F1 and really enjoyed this movie as a casual viewer. I wonder how his parent dealt with his loss longterm? He seemed really close with them.
He dated XuXa? He lived the dream!
posted by Senator at 8:13 PM on October 14, 2011


I just thought it an interesting example of Godwin's Law that was pre-Godwin's Law. Jackie Stewart may be wrong or right - that part doesn't interest me as much.

But I'll quote a bit more from the book, because that does interest me.
Sometimes I think I know some of the reasons why I do the things the way I do in a car and sometimes I think I don't know why. There are some moments that seem to be the natural instinct that is in me. Whether I have been born with it or whether this feeling has grown in me more than other people I don't know, but it is inside me and it takes over with a great amount of space and intensity. When I am competing against the watch and against other competitors, the feeling of expectation, of getting it done and doing the best I can gives me a kind of power that some moments when I am driving actually detaches me completely from anything else as I am doing it...corner after corner, lap after lap. I can give you a true example.

Monte Carlo '88, the last qualifying section. I was already on pole and I was going faster and faster. One lap after the other, quicker and quicker and quicker. I was at one stage just on pole, then by half a second and then by half a second and then one second and I just kept going. Suddenly I was nearly two seconds faster than anybody else, including my team mate with the same car. And suddenly I realized that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel. Not only the tunnel under the hotel but the whole circuit was a tunnel. I was just going and going, more and more and more and more. I was way over the limit but still able to find more.

Then suddenly something just kicked me. I kind of woke up and realized that I was in a different atmosphere than you normally are. My immediate reaction was to back off, slow down. I drove back slowly to the pits and I didn't want to go out any more that day. It frightened me because I was well beyond my conscious understanding. It happens rarely but I keep these experiences very much alive inside me because it is something that is important for self-preservation.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 8:32 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Senna was great, and this film is terrific, but Juan Manuel Fangio was the greatest.
posted by joannemullen at 11:33 PM on October 14, 2011


The documentary does agree with you though, in that they cast Senna as naive innocent and if he did anything unsportsmanlike, it was because someone else did it to him.

That is not at all what I am saying. I am saying that the particular incident in question was at the very least amplified by Prost in severity. That the contact wasn't necessarily inevitable but that Prost made it so by driving into Senna well before the turn in point for the corner - the fact that he turned in far, far too early is beyond debate. There is not one person with any competent knowledge of the sport that could argue that was a valid turning in point for that corner - not even a little bit. Why he did so could potentially be debatable, but that is not in any way a turn in point that would work for that corner. It's wrong by 40-50yards and makes no sense. Especially for someone widely regarded as the greatest tactical thinker of his era (possibly of all until Schumacher).

You could say that Senna was optimistic trying that pass and Prost was optimistic closing the door as he was entitled to (even on Senna) and both should have known better.

That wasn't even closing the door, though. That was 'driving into the car almost alongside me 40 yards before a corner in case I can't claim the apex when we get to it'. If he'd taken that side of the track before Senna was alongside him, then that would have been closing the door. Doing it after the car is well alongside means there was no door to shut - the door is the overtaking opportunity; the space alongside you. You can only close it before the other car is there. Again, the greatest tactical thinker of the era knows this damn well.

It is possible that the contact was inevitable at that corner - perhaps likely - but it absolutely wasn't at that point on the track. There is zero reason for the cars to touch there. If the cars had contacted 40 yards further on - at the apex or just before - then I would have much, much more respect for Prost's actions at the time. Then it would have been 100% "Senna tried to force his way past AGAIN". It then would have been 'there wasn't a gap' if Prost had still been in front by even a 10th of a car. But the speed with which Senna came alongside makes it more than a little likely that he may have been able to get ahead enough to claim the apex and force Prost to allow him past. I think Prost saw a chance that Senna may do that and (this is the cynical and lack of sportsmanship aspect) removed the chance of him being beaten into the corner by forcing a premature collision that would (possibly incidentally) fall into the 'Senna went for another gap that wasn't really there' club.

What I think is crucial to my take on that situation is that Prost killed the situation stone dead about a second before we would ever have known if the move would have worked. Personally, I think it would have but it is the fact that it was an accident long before we can know if Senna could have out braked him to the apex is the unpleasant taste in my mouth from the whole thing. Yes, maybe they were always going to make contact, but no way no how was it a racing incident for the contact to happen so far before the corner.

Saying that someone other than Senna was primarily at fault for that incident does not extrapolate into my agreeing that Senna was blameless as you suggest the film does (I haven't seen it). He was an utterly ruthless bastard, but it was married with total genius and sublime car control and understanding. One, however, does not excuse the other, but nor does it mean that he necessarily had blame in every incident he was in.
posted by Brockles at 7:52 AM on October 15, 2011


And Senna expected people to get out of his way, rather than having to maneuver around them.

Absolutely. The same flaw that Schumacher had - unfortunately through your formative racing years that 'he'll come past you no matter what' attitude is a superb intimidation tactic in the psychological battle against other drivers. When your car is seen in the mirror, the guy in front has already - in some small way in his mind - already conceded through reputation alone that you are going to pass him.

The issue (Schumacher, Senna, Hamilton etc) is when you let that confidence in approach leech into your brain as entitlement (as Andretti mentions above). Then you approach the other cars as an inconvenience rather than a competitor to pass and you start to enter 'Major League Arsehole' territory that tarnishes any skill and ability you may have.
posted by Brockles at 8:01 AM on October 15, 2011


"Then you approach the other cars as an inconvenience rather than a competitor to pass and you start to enter 'Major League Arsehole' territory that tarnishes any skill and ability you may have."

Yes, exactly, and in addition to that Brockles, is the other side of that power-curve of talent. It gets really easy for a talented driver, mostly early in their career but it can also come at any time, when they just seem to lose the thread. Suddenly they've got all the speed of a SAM missile, but all of the judgement of a chimp.

Look at Rene Arnoux. One day he's the golden boy in the ascendency with what amounted to the French national team of Renault, literally slugging it out with Gilles Villeneuve (certainly no push over behind the wheel), the next, he's turned into, well, Rene Anroux.

By the by, did you ever hear that when Arnoux retired, he bought all of the drivers he raced against a rather nice leather wallet as a gift? When he gave one to one driver (Warrick or somebody along that line), the recipient asked, "Thanks, but why a wallet?"

Arnoux answered, "Well, I figured I ran into you and everyone else so many times and I've cost you so much money ... "

See, I agree with Dan Gurney, Sure, the machinery is interesting, but it's the people that really make this fly!
posted by Relay at 10:13 AM on October 15, 2011


Andrea DeCesaris is another - the guy was super, super quick. But I suspect he was unable to cope with the transition from being a missile in the lower formulae to being in shitty cars when he got higher up (F3000 and F1) and I think that helpless 'only ever going to lose' feeling of being out of touch with the lead drivers caused him to hit that 'Andrea DeCrasheris' persona that he lost himself in. Frustration from being outclassed so completely through no fault of his own spilled over in silly mistakes time and again.
posted by Brockles at 10:41 AM on October 15, 2011


Prost v Senna was the first battle that I really cared about as a teenage fan. Watching the film, I remembered the Suzuka crashes with a clarity that surprised me.

Unfortunately, the film was less interesting for me than the interviews on the bonus disk of the DVD. The fact that neither the f-bomb laden Suzuka conference of '91 that has caused the most discussion in this thread nor the first lap of Donnington '93 are in the film testifies to exactly how sanitised it is. There have been more than a few rumoured F1 films over the years. If reports are to be believed, then several of these have run up against serious blocks from vested interests in the sport so maybe I shouldn't be surprised about this.

Senna was complex. The film would have you believe that he only cared about sport and not about politics yet this is someone who as good as ended Derek Warwick's F1 career by making it a condiition of his Lotus contract that Warwick wasn't his team-mate and who once held Ron Dennis of Mclaren over such a barrel on contract negotiations that Dennis himself wasn't sure if Senna was driving 48 hours before the first race of the season.

The only real details I've ever found about the battle at the time are in Mclaren mechanic Jo Ramirez's book Memoirs of a Racing Man, which I recommend.

Juicecake - there is evidence that Schumacher's car in '94 was running some less than legal technology.
posted by unless I'm very much mistaken at 2:40 PM on October 15, 2011


In my, admittedly, naive, idealistic view Senna was among all else a Zen Master.
(As in: become one with the machine, BECOME the arrow, etc). AFAIK he wasn't particulary interested in Philosophy, let alone eastern ones, but i once heard him elaborate about the flow, decades before Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi made it a household term.
posted by The Dot at 4:02 AM on October 16, 2011


In my, admittedly, naive, idealistic view Senna was among all else a Zen Master.
(As in: become one with the machine, BECOME the arrow, etc)


The thing is, any number of top drivers achieve this. I remember reading a WIRED article where Jacques Villenueve likened getting into his car to fastening himself into a well-made piece of clothing that anticipated and articulated his every gesture ... when everything was clicking.

Senna's genius was simply that he got everything clicking more often, more predictably, more efficiently than the rest. I'd be very interested to see how he might stack up against he likes of Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton who, to my mind, are the three purest talents racing Formula 1 today -- Vettel in particular.
posted by philip-random at 11:04 AM on October 16, 2011


Senna's genius was simply that he got everything clicking more often, more predictably, more efficiently than the rest.

Very true. That is where the truly great show their merits - it's not in how many good days you have, but minimising the difference between a good day and a bad day and hitting more good days than everyone else. Vettel in particular has hardly any noticeable bad days - he seems to be the most stable of all the drivers by far at the moment. Very similar to Schumacher in his prime.
posted by Brockles at 11:52 AM on October 16, 2011


In my, admittedly, naive, idealistic view Senna was among all else a Zen Master.
(As in: become one with the machine, BECOME the arrow, etc). AFAIK he wasn't particulary interested in Philosophy, let alone eastern ones, but i once heard him elaborate about the flow, decades before Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi made it a household term.
posted by The Dot at 4:02 AM on October 16 [+] [!]


Just wanted to point out that 'Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness' was first published in 1988, and Csikszentmihalyi had been studying the phenomenon for quite a while before that.

And it's not just great drivers who experience this, it is also a fairly common experience amongst videogame players - though I tend to argue that a lot of what is described as a flow experience in videogameplay relies tremendously on bodily phenomenona as much as psychological phenomenona, particularly the ability to incorporate objects into our bodily schema, or in other words to become as philip-random puts it a well made piece of clothing that anticipated and articulated his every gesture
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:25 AM on October 17, 2011


One thing about the double clutch that was mentioned upthread: Modern gearboxes have synchronizers that keep the internal dogteeth from grinding into each other when you try to change gears. In a non syncronized transmission, you have to release the clutch while the gearbox is in neutral and spin the transmission up to the proper RPM before downshifting. It's not an issue when upshifting as the transmission falls during the shift itself. These syncronizers fail sometimes, especially during endurance races, which is when drivers use the double clutch to prolong the life of the gearbox.

The Wiki page on manual transmissions has more.

Back to the original thread: I saw this trailer linked in the Dan Wheldon thread earlier this week and want to see it. That Suzuka crash is just nuts.
posted by daHIFI at 9:29 AM on October 19, 2011


In a non syncronized transmission, you have to release the clutch while the gearbox is in neutral and spin the transmission up to the proper RPM before downshifting. It's not an issue when upshifting as the transmission falls during the shift itself.

To clarify, this is not how it works with any racing (ie non-syncro or road car derived) transmission. Motor bike gearboxes are also of the same basic design as racing car boxes. That is only relevant for commercial vehicles or farm equipment. There is no need to do anything to try and change the speed of the gearbox at all during either shift. The only requirement is to slightly unload the gearbox; by a rev-cut or very slight throttle lift on upshifts or by a tiny throttle blip as you prepare to downshift (to unload the braking forces and allow the initial gear to disengage). The timing of the downshift blip is critical - the gearbox must be unloading as the shift fork itself is moving the dog ring (rather than when you move the lever) but this is relatively easy with practice. It's even easier with a shift system as the delay between throttle blip actuator and shift solenoid/ram is programmable in most systems.

To quantify, you need a throttle lift of maybe 10% for a fraction of a second (basically as fast as you can move your foot up and down a little bit) and you preload the gear lever before the change. Basically, you flex your toe and the gear will change. Downshifts need perhaps a 10-15% of throttle travel blip - again for a fraction of a second depending on the inertia in the system. The hard thing with manual downshifting is that the blip is so tiny that timing it is hard until you get used to it.

There is no speed change between the gears - they really don't spin relative to each other (as it implies from the double declutch example) at all. The clutch remains fully engaged the whole time. The change is so fast that it is only a small orientation of the gears that changes - maybe 10-30 degrees of the gear/dog itself at most to allow the next gear to engage.
posted by Brockles at 11:14 AM on October 19, 2011


That is not at all what I am saying.

I know. The documentary is. The makers only agree with you in that Prost was at fault.

I am saying that the particular incident in question was at the very least amplified by Prost in severity. That the contact wasn't necessarily inevitable but that Prost made it so by driving into Senna well before the turn in point for the corner - the fact that he turned in far, far too early is beyond debate.

Well if it's beyond debate then you win. Congratulations. Those of us who feel otherwise you can just ignore.

There is not one person with any competent knowledge of the sport that could argue that was a valid turning in point for that corner - not even a little bit.

And yet these people in F1, former drivers even, like say, James Hunt, disagree with you. Would that they and I, and others, had your level of competent knowledge. I bow down to your superior point of view.

Saying that someone other than Senna was primarily at fault for that incident does not extrapolate into my agreeing that Senna was blameless as you suggest the film does (I haven't seen it). He was an utterly ruthless bastard, but it was married with total genius and sublime car control and understanding. One, however, does not excuse the other, but nor does it mean that he necessarily had blame in every incident he was in.

I was speaking of that incident. I am aware that one does not excuse the other. Thank you. I am also aware that Senna was to blame for every incident he was in. Thanks again. I suppose those of us who are incompetent in these matters can be right some times. I think (wrongly and incompetently of course), that it was a racing incident, as do many in and out of F1. Others in and out of F1 feel it was Senna's fault. Others still feel it was Prost's. But clearly, it's not debatable.
posted by juiceCake at 2:05 PM on October 23, 2011


Juicecake - there is evidence that Schumacher's car in '94 was running some less than legal technology.

I'm aware that Benetton did that. That McLaren ran a fully automatic gearbox when it wasn't legal. That Michelin ran tyres that weren't quite up to spec. Rules clarifications happen all the time.

But the refueling rig has nothing to do with the Benetton's performance during a race. The allegations that they were using launch control were complete nonsense. Why would they use their previous year's launch control when is it was one of the worst in the sport? The Schumacher/Ferrari/Benetton are cheaters brigade never let up. They'd have you believe the sport was fixed based on the smallest things, despite all the other evidence to the contrary.
posted by juiceCake at 2:12 PM on October 23, 2011


And yet these people in F1, former drivers even, like say, James Hunt, disagree with you.

I've not seen a single one of them argue it was a valid turning in point. Can you cite examples? Calling it a racing incident doesn't necessarily prevent Prost being responsible to some extent for it.

Interestingly - although you seem to have skimmed past this - I haven't at any stage said it wasn't a racing incident. It's just that racing incident classification doesn't necessarily mean that there is no fault to be had. Those that believe Senna speared up the inside into Prost and was the sole cause of the accident are every bit as wrong, in my opinion, as those that believe no-one was to blame.

Prost drove into Senna. No doubt in my mind. If he hadn't however, he'd Senna would have had to drive into Prost to make the corner and then everything would have changed, so it's a racing incident but it does seem very unfair to blame Senna for it when it wasn't allowed to get to that stage by Prost. It depends whether you are considering the fuller implications of the move whether you can say whose fault it was, though.
posted by Brockles at 2:27 PM on October 23, 2011


But the refueling rig has nothing to do with the Benetton's performance during a race.

It absolutely does when there is refuelling during the race. It makes a massive difference to the freedom you have in refuelling strategy (especially and particularly your ability to react to other team's pit stops). Refuelling cheating is as old as refuelling regulations.

The Schumacher/Ferrari/Benetton are cheaters brigade never let up.

If you believe that any of that combination ran fully legal cars all the time, then you've been watching the wrong sport. Every team runs as far outside the rules as they think they can get away with.
posted by Brockles at 2:30 PM on October 23, 2011


I've not seen a single one of them argue it was a valid turning in point. Can you cite examples? Calling it a racing incident doesn't necessarily prevent Prost being responsible to some extent for it.

Hunt says it was a spot that was always going to be closed by Prost. That's arguing that it is valid. But it's not up for debate so you're right and everyone else who thinks otherwise and believe it is up for debate (and I see it being debated years afterward) is wrong. It's a pleasure. It really is.

Interestingly - although you seem to have skimmed past this - I haven't at any stage said it wasn't a racing incident. It's just that racing incident classification doesn't necessarily mean that there is no fault to be had.

Interestingly, I said just as much. It could be Prost wasn't going to "respect" Senna's line at that point, or that Senna was overly optimistic. I said it could be argued in many ways, including racing incident. I couldn't care less if you think it was a racing incident or not, that it's not up for debate is the issue I find to be absurd.

Prost drove into Senna. No doubt in my mind.

That's wonderful. I'm fine with that. My opinion differs but apparently, such things are not up for debate. Again, I am just an ignorant and biased person who doesn't see things as clearly as you do.

It absolutely does when there is refuelling during the race. It makes a massive difference to the freedom you have in refuelling strategy (especially and particularly your ability to react to other team's pit stops). Refuelling cheating is as old as refuelling regulations.

Sure, it can gain you a few seconds during a stop. But it has nothing to do with allegations that were made about traction control and starting systems on the car. Refueling is not related to these things.

If you believe that any of that combination ran fully legal cars all the time, then you've been watching the wrong sport. Every team runs as far outside the rules as they think they can get away with.

I am well aware of allegations. But unproven doesn't mean their true. I am neither watching the wrong or right sport. I am watching Formula 1. I even cited a few examples of rules clarifications which clearly illustrate your point that the rules are stretched. But unproven stretching isn't proof to me. It is to you perhaps, and that's fine. Different people see things different, even when they're looking at the same thing. Except of course, when one person's view is the right one and not up for debate.
posted by juiceCake at 12:40 PM on October 24, 2011


Hunt says it was a spot that was always going to be closed by Prost. That's arguing that it is valid.

No he isn't. Not at all. You seem to be fundamentally missing my point - wilfully or otherwise I have no idea. Hunt is arguing that it was a valid move for Prost to move over and defend. He is not arguing that it is a valid turn in point for the corner. No one person with any knowledge of the sport could argue it was a valid turn in point for the corner. Which was exactly and precisely my point. You could argue that Prost was perfectly entitled to move over, but for Senna to be entirely responsible then he would have had to hit Prost as Prost turned into the corner. But he didn't. The contact occurred well before the turn in point. Hence (as was my point all along) Prost was not at all blameless in the incident and hence it was not all Senna's fault, per se.

You seem to be taking one small part of my point (the turn in for the corner) and extrapolating my emphatic statement of that one small part into a AND YOU CAN ALL FUCK OFF I AM RIGHT that is entirely not there in my posts. You seem to be irrationally offended by that. I have absolutely no idea why. This, and your misinterpretation of my assessment of the incident, seems to be leaving you all flustered. Again, I have no idea why.

I couldn't care less if you think it was a racing incident or not, that it's not up for debate is the issue I find to be absurd.

You're really not getting it, are you? Only the turn-in point was non-debatable. The racing line is - within a few feet - fixed for most comparable cars for all circuits and is very rigid. There is being on-line and being very definitely off-line. Prost turned in at a point that was very definitely - beyond debate - off line. Why and whether or not he was justified is still entirely up for debate (basically anything other than the turning point) and I have zero problem with someone disagreeing with me after that point. My only statement was that this movement well off the racing line absolutely precludes Prost from being blameless in the collision. That doesn't (to clarify because you seem to only see binary conclusions in my posts) mean that Senna was blameless, or Prost was entirely at fault. But it most definitely makes it of joint blame - to a degree or distribution that has continued to be up for debate.

Sure, it can gain you a few seconds during a stop. But it has nothing to do with allegations that were made about traction control and starting systems on the car. Refueling is not related to these things.

What point of mine are you refuting? I was disagreeing with your assessment that refuelling cheating doesn't make any difference to on-track performance.

I am well aware of allegations. But unproven doesn't mean their true.

People have been fined and thrown out of teams and championships for cheating. McLaren have used hugely complex movable ballast systems illegally (I know one of the guys that worked on the system), countless other teams have used overly flexible components, illegal materials, iffy technical inspection procedures designed to hide illegal components, Ferrari has used illegal components for many years and 'not been caught' in such a way that there have been very serious allegations of fixing by the governing body. Everyone knew they were cheating, they just didn't get caught. It wasn't the fact that they were cheating that was the issue so much, as it was when it became obvious it was being 'overlooked' which wasn't the status quo that the other teams have operated under. This is all part of normal life in Formula 1 and the people that I know that have worked (and do work) within it all know about this. Cheating is rife and it is all part of the game - you use your cheats just long enough until you hear whispers about their legality and then they quietly get 'phased out' in updates. The genius of this cheating is in the not being caught. Part of the marketing in F1 is that usually these things are found early enough and they are quietly dealt with to protect the integrity of the sport (and the manufacturers involved). It is quite the game, cheating in F1.

Except of course, when one person's view is the right one and not up for debate.

It seems you may need to put something in your profile about you being irrationally angered by that phrase. A guy uses it once for one small aspect of a discussion and you throw it back at him from the rooftops over every single subsequent thing that he says, no matter that none of the other stuff is related. How bizarre.
posted by Brockles at 1:52 PM on October 24, 2011


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