Senna vs Brundle reviewed

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Mario Muth is a name many readers will already be familiar with from his engaging series of video interviews with some of F1’s most fascinating figures.

In Senna vs Brundle he has turned his attention to a feature-length documentary, focused on the remarkable 1983 British Formula Three championship contest from which both Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle leapt up into Formula One.

Inevitably the film is going to draw comparisons with Asif Kapadia and Manish Pandey’s 2010 documentary Senna, as it essentially serves as an unofficial prequel. There are a few notable similarities, not least that Muth has taken the brave step of not having a narrator, instead using his interview subjects to tell the story.

This works chiefly because he’s done such a thorough job of assembling the key players from the period: Brundle and a host of drivers, his and Senna’s team bosses and a judicious selection of journalists. A few archive clips of Senna talking about the season also appear.

The difficulty of keeping the narrative flowing is evident in places, however: there is a bit of repetition and the chronology isn’t always clear. Every significant facet of the season is covered – and sometimes also covered a little more than is necessary.

What it could use a bit more of is footage of the cars in action. Although some material has been sourced from HayFisher and the only known video of the collision between the pair at Oulton Park is also included, there is rather a lot more of the ‘talking heads’. Still photography is also put to excellent use but the balance overall doesn’t feel right.

The result is a film which is meticulous and reflective if lacking in drama. But the bargain asking price – just £5.99 on Vimeo, and it is also being shown on some subscription television services including Sky F1 – makes this easy to recommend.

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F1 Fanatic rating

Senna vs Brundle

Publisher: Mario Muth
Published: 2016
Price: £5.99


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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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26 comments on “Senna vs Brundle reviewed”

  1. Ricky Sunderland
    11th December 2016, 17:36

    Interesting how this sport becomes soo boring that average drivers have to find paralelles to compare them with great drivers.
    Maybe the next is about barrichello saying how he beat Schumacher to the train ride.

    1. If you think that Martin Brundle was an “average driver”, then you haven’t been paying close enough attention to what autosport is actually about. And its “parallels” :)

      1. Ricky Sunderland
        12th December 2016, 6:02

        That’s such a elaborate argument.
        Well done.

        1. Okay, I will elaborate:
          -Brundle was above average in F3, finishing 1983 just behind one of the greatest drivers of all time.
          -He placed 5th in first F1 race in 1984 (above average), and then 2nd later in the same year at Detroit (above average), before suffering two shattered ankles in a crash which put him out for the season and effectively crippled his F1 career.
          -With a record points haul, he finished the 1988 world sportscar championship as World Champion (surely an above average performance).
          -Oh yes, he also won the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans (something rarely done by average drivers).

          1. Ricky Sunderland
            12th December 2016, 15:58

            Im sorry but in all stats plenty of average drivers reach the same stats.
            During all that era we saw a mix of results. And still
            No win.
            I’m sorry those results were not at all impressive.
            80 s and 90 s F1 was easier to spot Talent where mid field teams could achieve bigger results. And still 165 entries.
            ZERO wins.

          2. Ricky Sunderland, are you basing your statements just on a blind appraisal of his results, rather than taking into consideration the quality of the cars that he was driving during that era? Absolutely nobody would have a hope in hell in winning a race in the Zakspeed 871 or the Brabham BT59Y, to pick a few examples.

            Equally, whilst you claim that it was easier to spot talent when midfield teams could achieve bigger results, that really isn’t the case when you look at that era objectively (the era from the mid 1980’s through to the mid 1990’s was heavily dominated by Williams, McLaren and Ferrari).

      2. Ricky Sunderland
        12th December 2016, 6:10

        165 starts
        Zero wins.
        Talking about comparison.
        If you put a good driver in an average car you can still get better results.
        Even nowadays.
        Sérgio Perez is not one of the greats and still gets better results than Mr Brundle.
        This documentary just exists because he is British in a British sport. If you been observing the sport closely you will see it.
        No wonder average drivers like J Palmer still have seats in such a terrible season.

        1. I think it’s great that F3 gets some attention. Of course nobody thinks that Brundle was close to Senna as an F1 driver, but that season showed that pushing a car beyond its limits can have consequences. It helped refine Senna and Brundle’s dependability gave the perfect match up that year.

          Documentaries are made by people that think there’s a story to be told that some (not all) people might find interesting. I don’t really get the issue here to be honest, or the link to Palmer who I agree shouldn’t be in F1.

          1. Why are you comparing Brundle’s f1 records with Senna? The documentary is about Senna and Brundel in F3 and the 1983 season was actually really close in terms of points. Brundle lost the title in the final race. If they had a rivalry in F3 worth making a documentary on, Brundle’s F1 record is of no significance here.

          2. Sorry, this comment was meant for Ricky Sutherland.

        2. No offense to Sergio Perez, but in 2010 he finished his GP2 campaign in 2nd place behind the great Pastor Maldonado. This is different from Brundle vs Senna in several important ways.

      3. ferrox – Brundle can certainly talk the talk about F1 but Martin can’t walk the walk. Zero wins from 160+ starts, says it all.

        1. I guess we all have a right to our opinion, but I guess the notion of “average” is in the eye of the beholder. Hulkenburg hasn’t even been on the podium in F1, but compared to all of the race driver’s who have ever raced, I would also consider him above average.

          1. Ricky Sunderland
            12th December 2016, 21:52

            Takuma Sato has a best record than Brundle. Just saying.

  2. Sheridan Repton
    11th December 2016, 23:35

    Brundle was far from average, he was fantastically quick.

    1. But he was no Senna.

    2. Sheridan, remind me – how many F1 championships did Brundle amass from his 165 starts; how many wins?

      1. How many times did Senna win Le Mans?

        1. Ricky Sunderland
          12th December 2016, 21:54

          Ahahha you are delusional.

          1. And although Sato won Macao in F3, he’s no Brundle.

    3. Absolutely, you’ve got to respect a guy who knew how to crash properly. None of this getting-stuck-in-a-gravel-trap for him, no — it was all do-a-barrel-roll-over-a-crowd-of-cars in Australia; get-hit-on-the-head-by-a-Benetton in Brazil; break-both-your-ankles in Dallas.

      Proper television.

  3. Don’t forget Davy Jones, SCCA Northeast Division Formula Ford winner, was also a contender that season in British F3.

  4. I hope they do one of these docs on the pre-F1 rivalry between Schumacher and Frentzen, which was thrilling on and off the track…

    1. I would definitely watch that!

  5. I thought it was poor. Bit jumpy like you say, no coherent flow and bad footage (understandable) But really just a bit, well, dull. I’ve had 3 stabs at it and not got anywhere near the finish. Brundle is always good copy but no-one needs to be told that and it certainly doesn’t indulge in the gross history re-write of the brilliant fantasy that is ‘Senna’. Maybe it should’ve.

  6. Jacques-Olivier Holzer
    13th December 2016, 12:50

    Cant’ wait until Rupert Keegan start to be mentioned in that amazing thread.

Comments are closed.