I watched "Senna" this evening, the movie about Aryton Senna da Silva's life as a Formula 1 racing driver and world championship, and his fatal accident, May 1st, 1994.
The race was the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, and the accident was at Tamburello, facts most ardent fans can tell you. I'd watch Senna his entire career. I had made the predictionyears earlier that he would likely die in a Formula 1 car. He was just not ready to give anything to lose a second. That was clearly visible.
He was also very fast. His car control amazed. As he set records, won pole positions and won championships, I thought maybe I was wrong. Then I watched the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix on May 1st.
I lived in Mountain View, California. Watching the race live from Italy meant being up early. I was half dozing as the race began. Races have patterns. This one was very intense, though. Senna, with a new team, Williams Engineering, for the first time since 1988, was an underdog. He was very uncomfortable and a new driver, Michael Schumacher, had won the first two races.
The movie's footage through the years showed his changing demeanor through the years. By the time the 1994 season began, it seemed like a darkness held him. Is this just me looking back in hindsight? Perhaps. Through his fatal weekend, he seemed very nervous, restless and pensive. It was a disastrous weekend. A new Brazilian driver, Rubens Barrichello, had a bad accident as his car launched, getting flung into the barriers during practice. It was a pent breath moment as his car, going at high speed, disintegrated. Rubens escaped with mild injury.
The next day, Roland Ratzenberger in the MTV Simtek, was killed during qualifying. He was traveling about 315 KPH, almost 195 MPH. Seeing his head limp and lolling as the wreckage settled, it would have been miraculous had he lived.
Then, the next day, Aryton died.
His car went off at high speed, slamming into the wall and shearing the right front off. Doctor Sid Watkins, Senna's friend, was at the scene and said there were no bruises on his body, no other broken bones, other than then the injury caused when a component pierced his helmet above Senna's right eye. Doctor Watkins said he saw Senna's fully dilated pupils and knew there was no hope, and then Senna sighed.
I recorded the race that morning on VHS. I never watched it again, although I still have it. Watching the movie brought it all too vividly back today. We all die but there is always the balance, isn't there, of those left behind, dealing with the void.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com