At the FIA’s prize-giving gala, Senna and Schumacher are sat next to each other, and during the evening, they are joined by their old rival, Alain Prost. They talk about the fateful Imola weekend, now some three and a half years ago.
— “How were you able to cope with that weekend, emotionally, Ayrton?” asked Schumacher.
— “First of all”, Senna replied, “I got a big wake-up call from that accident. I realised that I could do myself some serious damage. That we all could. But it also dawned to me that, as the senior driver, at the time, I had a special responsibility. And with the both of you, and with Gerhard and Christian, we recreated the GPDA, of course. I felt that was an important step, to stand up against the other forces, and working with them, while representing the drivers’ needs.”
— “But did the weekend change you? As a man? As a driver?”
— “From Imola onwards I was a different driver for sure. Not slower or less competitive, just different. I knew where the boundaries and limits were and I knew I had to respect them more.”
— “Still, over the next season, you and Michael had a difficult time dealing with those limits”, Prost queried.
— “That is true”, Senna admitted.
— “How would you compare your incidents with Michael with our own?”
— “That’s difficult to say, Alain. There were many factors that contributed to our rivalry.” Senna referred to the difficulties he had had with then-FIA President Jean-Marie Balestre, and decisions that the sporting commissioners had taken under his guidance. “They very much contributed to the difficulties we had.”
Then, while firmly looking Senna in the eye, Prost put his hand on Schumacher’s shoulder, and said: “Can you imagine what young drivers, back then, thought, when they saw things like that in Formula One? They will have thought they could get away with anything.”
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