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.”
Tell us what you think. Drop us a line below, or on Twitter.
We have finished our first stories. Both ‘Ascari versus Fangio’ (by Christiaan) and ‘Villeneuve versus Prost’ (Mattijs) are done.
Now, we’d like to have them proofread. Not necessarily by professional editors, but rather by enthousiasts, to find out whether there are any changes or additions that we could make, to further improve the stories prior to publishing them on 1 May 2014.
If you’re interested, let us know. We’ll send both stories to the first 5 to post a reply to this post.
Here’s another excerpt, this time from Mattijs’ Villeneuve versus Prost chapter:
Pironi wasn’t really a threat to Villeneuve in the ‘shitbox’ they had been given last year. At times, Gilles found ways to drive around it while Didier was simply lost. But now, in the car that had been handed to them by Harvey Postlethwaite, Pironi was on top of things, performing like the World Champion elect he sometimes made himself appear to be in 1980, on every occasion the Ligier was handling at its best. This afternoon, at Zolder, he was simply majestic at a track on which he had shone before. The Belgians – especially the ones feeling half French – hadn’t forgotten Pironi’s dominating 1980 win and now, two years later, he’d done it again. A Ferrari driver was finally leading the World Championship again, and it wasn’t the man driving the No.27 car. Gilles Villeneuve, for once having left his family behind in Monaco where Melanie was preparing for her first communion, felt alone. At the end of a long day he walked back to the helicopter pad, head down. It would be a long flight home.
Although no contract had been signed, Gilles had agreed with Ron Dennis that he would drive for McLaren, returning to the team which had given him his first Grand Prix drive, at Silverstone in 1977. And when you think about it, had that come to be, the course of F1 history might have turned out very differently, for the McLaren team would have been Lauda and Villeneuve, and there would have been no place — in 1984 — for Prost.
In John Barnard´s MP4-2, Lauda and Prost dominated that year, Niki beating his team-mate to the championship by half a point, and in ´85 and ´86 Alain won the first two of his four titles. Gilles in an MP4-2… quite a thought, isn´t it?
That’s quite intriguing to Mattijs and myself. We might consider changing the story we have on Villeneuve versus Prost, either its setting, e.g. with Villeneuve at McLaren and Prost elsewhere, or its basics, creating a more prominent role for Lauda.
Last night, my co-author — whom I’ll reveal shortly 😉 — and I finalised the concept for our new Senna versus Schumacher set-up and sent the outlines of it to our potential publisher for him to review.
Tentative title for new-style Senna versus Schumacher
The title for our alternate set-up would likely be:
Senna vs Schumacher and Six Other Formula One Rivalries That Never Happened
7 what-if stories about perished/injured drivers
Like I stated earlier, the new set-up consists of 7 stories revolving around drivers and their main rivalries had they not died or been injured to the extent that they could no longer compete at the top level.
The 7 what-if stories are:
Senna versus Schumacher
Villeneuve versus Prost
Reutemann versus Andretti
Cevert versus Lauda
Rindt versus Stewart
Moss versus Clark
Ascari versus Fangio
Dutch or English book depends on publisher’s reply
We now wait for the publishers reply. If he responds favourably, we will likely write Senna versus Schumacher in Dutch in co-operation with the publisher. If he does not, we will likely write an English book and publish it ourselves, either as e-book or through printing-on-demand.
Let us know what you think
We’re of course very curious for your thoughts. What do you think of our alternate set-up? How do you feel about the 7 stories? Is there anything we missed or anything that you would like to add?