Saw this film last Friday, chronicling the career of the master Brazilian Formula 1 driver. Ayrton Senna. A name whose stylishness sounds specially crafted for a star. An absorbing tale. There are few things I’d be less likely to watch on TV than an F1 race, but I knew from the reviews that this was a film whose themes transcended its subject matter.
Senna had been criticised for supposedly allowing a belief in special divine protection to push him to take excessive risks, but in interview he denied this, saying he was as aware as any driver of the dangers – thus expressing a wise humility: faith doesn’t exempt you from life’s trials and misfortunes, as of course his tragic accident demonstrated. The portrayal of his very human emotions facing the pressures of a top flight sportsman – including the intense and sometimes bitter rivalry with McLaren team-mate Alain Prost – is also very engaging.
A life cut tragically short, aged 34, by a seemingly random freak accident. Had the car part which struck his head been just a few inches away, he’d have survived. As it is, he remains the last fatality in Formula 1. A man of faith… Does it make any sense, when you consider the weight given to prayers for protection among Christians? Such incidents can only be responded to by drawing on some of the faith’s deepest resources, such as the assurance in Romans that all things work together for good, to them that love God. The spirit of the man released from the broken body is ultimately safe with God, while seventeen years on the tragedy has produced a work of art that challenges and engages millions.