Senna versus Schumacher finished; available Thursday 1 May

Yes, the Senna versus Schumacher story is now finished. I will re-read the entire story once or twice over the next few days and fix any mistakes or make minor changes where necessary.

Here’s the final excerpt from the story.

On lap 25, Senna was almost forty seconds ahead of second-placed Hill. On the Kemmel straight, Senna was nearing Schumacher, who was running eighth and over two minutes behind the leader. Coming out of the Rivage corner, turning left onto the short straight towards the fast left-hander Pouhon, Senna wanted to pass. He’ll move from the racing line to allow me through, Senna thought. But Schumacher thought: I’ll stay as far right as I can and lift off to let him past. So when no one expected it, Senna ran his Ferrari into the back of Schumacher’s McLaren. The McLaren veered right, without its rear wing, but continued. The Ferrari veered left, without its front wing and the right front wheel, but also continued. Both drivers made it to the pits.

Senna parked his car in the Ferrari pit box nose first. He threw his steering wheel out, got up, and stormed out of the pit box, pushing his mechanics aside.

Angrily taking off his helmet and balaclava, Senna stormed past the Williams and Benetton teams, and into the McLaren pit box.

A senior team member tried to stop him, but to no avail. The Brazilian, who had almost come to terms with the cheating allegations and the infamous crash of 1994, and their fierce battles and accidents a season later, was determined to obtain redress with Schumacher.

Ferrari team boss Jean Todt quickly got off the pit wall and hurried towards his driver. But he couldn’t stop the confrontation.

Senna versus Schumacher will be available on Thursday 1 May 2014.

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Excerpt from Senna versus Schumacher

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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Senna versus Schumacher excerpt

This — incidentally my 100th post on the site! — is an excerpt from the Senna versus Schumacher story.

It’s the final race. The Benetton driver is out; the Williams is stricken, but still going. Who will take the 1994 Formula One World championship?

On lap 70, Senna finds himself right behind Frentzen, but he also has Alesi on his tail. At the end of the Brabham straight, Senna goes for it. Frentzen doesn’t fight back and Alesi profits. Sixth place.

Eleven laps to go. Sixth would earn Senna a single point, taking him level with Schumacher in the championship standings. But the German’s seven wins over Senna’s six would grant him the title. And with Panis almost a minute up the road, it looked like the end for Senna.

Only a few more months and you’ll know…

Ascari versus Fangio excerpt

Here’s another short excerpt from the Ascari versfus Fangio story:

At the post-race festivities, it struck Ascari that Fangio, who rarely smiled or posed for photographers, was beside himself with joy. “That was quite the race, Juan. Congratulations”, Ascari commented.

“Thank you, Alberto”, Fangio replied. “I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don’t think I will ever be able to do it again.”

That’s an odd thing to say, Ascari contemplated when walking away from the podium ceremonies. He suspected that, maybe, Fangio was thinking about retiring. Well, if he is, this race was certainly a statement of ability — he will have gone out with a bang.

We’d love to hear from you.

Another Ascari versus Fangio excerpt

Here’s another excerpt from the Ascari versus Fangio chapter:

Fangio started to feel like a stranger in his own team. He never felt that Ferrari could be his team. Not like Ascari had appeared to have made it his team, from the very start of the championship. He was obviously the Old Man’s favourite, being the son of Ferrari’s former team-mate and close friend Antonio, when both were employed by Alfa Romeo, and having been on the Scuderia’s roster since 1949. And not even like Collins apparently had, with Ferrari even giving Collins the prototype of the formidable 250 GT Cabriolet road car. Little did he know that it was because Enzo couldn’t stand Collins driving a Lancia Flaminia, and that Collins only had it on loan.

Again, we’re curious for your thoughts. Reply below or send us a tweet @SennavsSchumi