“Ayrton Senna: An interactive voyage” (Christopher Hilton, 2009)

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"Ayrton Senna - an interactive voyage"
"Ayrton Senna - an interactive voyage"

If there?s one thing my bookshelf isn?t short of it?s Ayrton Senna biographies. So what?s the cause for this new title as the 15th anniversary of Senna?s untimely passing approaches?

The idea behind this book, and the reason behind that ??interactive voyage?? tag, is that as well as a biography you get copies of various interesting documents from Senna?s life, such as official letters and testing itineraries, pictures of which you can see below.

This along with the ??30 price tag marks the book out as one for the dedicated Senna enthusiast.

The ‘interactive’ bits are by far the most interesting part of the proposition. There’s a lengthy letter from Senna to a friend, an invitation to the 1990 FIA prize-giving ceremony, and his British competition licence from 1981.

One unusual item that caught my eye was a telegram from the president of Brazil following the 1991 British Grand Prix, where Senna had retired late in the race with a technical problem. The note reads: “Brilliant Formula 1 championship England circuit race, where the second place would have been a fairer result.”

The book is very well produced, presented in an attractive case, and the material used for the reproductions is all high quality. But the text doesn’t add an awful lot to what we know of Senna in the many other books on the subject, many of which written by Hilton.

Depending on your point of view, you may take this book one of two ways: either as an original and engaging new approach to a popular topic, or a tired re-treading of old ground in an attempt to squeeze more money out of the Senna brand. I’ll leave that for you to decide in the comments.

But I have to wonder when the fascination with Senna to the exclusion of many other fine F1 drivers is going to end. I have plenty of okay-ish biographies of Senna (and one very good one), but nothing on his arch-rival Alain Prost worth recommending. I hope someone redresses the balance.

Ardent Senna fans will lap up “An interactive voyage”, but I’d like to read a bit more about his rivals in future.

F1 Fanatic verdict

“Ayrton Senna – Memories and Mementoes from a life lived at full speed: An interactive voyage”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on ““Ayrton Senna: An interactive voyage” (Christopher Hilton, 2009)”

  1. “But I have to wonder when the fascination with Senna to the exclusion of many other fine F1 drivers is going to end.”

    It probably won’t for a long, long time.

    It’s the “John Kennedy” effect. If you are a master at your craft and die at the height of your popularity, you become a legend and your popularity doesn’t diminish.

    I don’t know why this happens, but it seems normal. I’m a huge admirer of Senna too – but would I be (to this extent, at least) if not for his tragic end? I don’t know.

  2. I saw the video of Ayrton Senna… it make me remember the great senna…he was(and still)a hero in my country(brasil)…we miss you a lot senna…obrigado por levar nossa bandeira com tigo a cada vitoria…we gonna love you forever.

    1. obrigado por levar nossa bandeira com tigo a cada vitoria…

      what does this mean? :)
      between when senna used to race,i was 8 year old.so no memories of him.But, when i started watching F1 during my late school days,schumi was my hero.

    20th February 2009, 11:06

    For all those who saw and supported him, the dreams of what he could have achieved will remain forever! The Wallys contract was only short term,( Ayrton wanted to do Wallys a favour and win a championship for them, oh, and they had the best car in 93!.but the rule changes for 94 without active suspension ruined the car, and for 94 the car was a jalopy to drive!!!)…but he was destined for Ferrari by 1996 at the latest!!! He could have gone on to win 10 or more titles for sure, despite Tricky Micky coming onto the scene!! Ayrton would have beaten him thats for sure, because he had more fire and determination, and even motor racing is about more than just being able to drive fast.! #:)

    1. well not 10 but 1-2 more. :p

      but overall i agree. i think the brazil gp 1994 shows how senna was the fastest man on track that year. hill was literally nowhere in terms of lap times on that gp. i saw it. schumacher (in a proper car) and senna (in a rubbish car) was miles ahead of the rest on that afternoon. senna was absolutely on the limit, he tried as hard as he can – probably thats why he spinned on lap 60 or so.

  4. kaushal

    That means : “Thank you for taking our flag with you on each victory”

    1. The book has got a few items in different languages but has translations for each of them.

  5. Keith,

    The answer to your question about when the facination with Senna will disappear is that it will be at least several decades and as long as any of us who saw him drive are alive it will remain the same.

    12 years before Senna died Villeneuve did and people are still obsessed with him. Fewer people but only because fewer people knew about the sport then.

    14 years before that Jim Clark died and there are people still obsessed with him but again a lot fewer people are involved.

    Senna was the first dominant figure to die in the sport in the TV age and at a time when the sport was ‘safe’so many more people were affected by his death.

  6. You point to “The Death of Ayrton Senna” as a very good one, but in your review of “The Life of Ayrton Senna” you say:

    “The Life of Ayrton Senna acquits itself well alongside the vast array of other writing on Senna. Richard Williams’ fairly lightweight The Death of Ayrton Senna is more concise but considerably less thorough, and offers little that isn’t available elsewhere.”

    Which doesn’t sound too positive about the same book?

    In “Ayrton Senna: As Time Goes By” you also point to “The Life of Senna” as a better option.

    I’ve always been a huge Senna fan, but never bought a book. After his death I felt that the books were rather in poor taste trying to cash in on his death.

    Nowadays I do find I like looking at pictures of Senna and to read stories about him. It just brings back how great he was.

    So long story short, I’m looking for a book (or a few books) and I have none laying around. I’d like some in depth stories, but pictures would be nice too.

    Which option would be my best bet then, “The Life of Senna” or “The Death of Ayrton Senna”. Freaky that the titles are so “together”.

    Or maybe “Ayrton Senna: An interactive voyage”? I have to say the pictures look nice and to see some actual documents would be cool too.

  7. I think it helps that he was a mesmerising and articulate speaker. I could listen to Senna talk for ages; he had an almost hypnotic tone, and although he could be controversial – and frankly unsporting on occasion – he was always unflinchingly direct.

    Also, less FW16 hate please. As a result of the program that Senna, Hill and Williams started, that car was competitive not long after Monaco. It was less the case that it was slow; more that it was relatively very pitch-sensitive, and so needed to be run very stiff in the beginning.

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