'Senna': New Documentary About God-Fearing Formula One Driver

[Correction Appended*]

A recently released documentary called “Senna” looks to reveal the life of one of the best Formula One drivers that ever lived, who tragically died in a devastating crash on the race track.

Brazil’s Ayrton Senna was the winner of three world championships and was considered the genius of Formula One racing before dying in a crash on a race track in 1994 at the age of 34, while leading the field at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Senna is well-known as a God-fearing figure that became a shining symbol of faith and was one of the most revered figures ever to race a Grand Prix track.

His life is portrayed in Asif Kapadia’s new documentary, which tracks the driver through three world championships in four years, capturing his humility as well as his intense yet softly-spoken character perfectly.

News programs, home movies and race footage are included in the clips. The narrative depicts Senna as the noble hero confronting his adversaries on and off the track.

“I think what’s most amazing about Senna is that he’s an athlete who wasn’t faking it,” said Kapadia.

Formula One is popular in Europe, South America and Asia involving custom-built cars racing urban courses at speeds that can reach 180 mph.

The documentary is also composed of cleverly edited archive footage without narration, resulting in a fly-on-the-wall portrait of a sport’s cultures and personalities. Kapadia’s film dialogue is in English, Portuguese and French.

Although the sport is not popular in U.S., Senna featured in a significant wave of international films and had strong box office receipts. Furthermore, in the United Kingdom the documentary of his life has become the third-highest grossing documentary of all time after its release in June.

John Sloss, the head of Producers Distribution Agency PDA, has expressed his surprise about how well the film has been received by people.

“I couldn’t care less about motorsports, I’d never heard of Ayrton Senna and I never would have considered seeing this movie from the description, and I think a lot of people are in the same boat. But it’s incredible just how many people respond to it once they see it,” he has said.

The first Formula One Grand Prix race on U.S. soil since 2007 will be held next year in Austin, Texas.

[*Correction: The first version of this article mistakenly stated the length of time since the last U.S. Grand Prix. The last Grand Prix was held in 2007 at Indianapolis.]