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MC12

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Senna the man, Senna the racer, 'Senna' the film. Part 2.
Senna is nothing less than expressive in any clip concern wrought across his features at every drivers accident, his love for the Brazilian people so clearly expressed in his waving of the Brazilian flag at a time of great national turmoil. Thus, it is this ease of expression that heralds the unease growing in Senna through the 1994 season at his new team, Williams.

The seasons cars are clearly pigs to drive, as evidenced by the weekends other high-speed accidents, and the tension in Senna is tangible. Thus unease permeates the viewer, sucking strong emotion from them and leaving them free to cast an uneasy, objective eye over the building climax.

Sennas assertion that the car quite simply didnt handle is clearly proven true by early footage, Senna for the first time appearing not to have subconsciously bonded with the car.

The viewer is quick to kid themselves that Senna is driving an exceptional race given his car, right up until that final turn into Tamburello. We can never be certain exactly what happened in that corner, but from the moment the impact is made the collapse of Senna in the cockpit makes clear he is not coming back.

At this moment, the viewer can feel little more than forlorn yet as the shot changes to Senna lying attended by the Formula One medical team, it slowly dawns that the spirit is gone. With this revelation, a well of mourning grows and flows out of each and every in the cinema; united in depth of emotion far beyond the fickle nature of personal driver preference or interest in the sport.

Senna was neither a perfect driver nor a perfect man no human can ever be either, but his strength of spirit and determination continues to both dwarf and define motorsport to this day.

Sennas death was both tragic and young, but has brought about much good in the sport. Sid Watkins erstwhile F1 doctor and friend of Senna was commissioned to improve safety in the sport, and the subsequent advances have saved a myriad of lives. Think of Kubicas crash at Montreal in 2007, Webbers at Valencia in 2010 and Perez at Monaco less than two weeks ago.

Writing this, five hours after leaving the cinema, I still find myself struggling to convey the enormity of raw character displayed in the film. The strength of the battles with Prost and FIA chief Balestre, the supreme driving ability, the charitable donations, the blisters covering his gear-changing hand in the Toleman years each and every clip speaks of something equally extraordinary.

Ultimately, the Senna shown by Senna is perhaps best explained by the natural pose he adopted out of the car and in interview; shoulders low, easy facial expression and understanding eyes. Senna seemed at home in Formula One, and Formula One was largely at home in him.

If you love Formula One, you will love this film. Surprisingly, if you loath Formula One youll love it still for its deep humanity. Regardless of what you think and know of Senna, this film will throw new light on the nature and enormity of his character. I implore you to watch it.

Josh Woodcock.
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