I came across an interesting article recently that featured the following quotes from Senna while between the ’92 and ’93 seasons. The article made use of the following quotes from the March ’93 issue of Road and Track, in which Senna discusses his view of the Williams team at the time, and his comparisons between a Penske Indycar he’d just driven and Formula 1 cars of the day.


“. . . during 1992, Williams was in a different world than everybody else. No matter what you did you were between one and two seconds off. ”

” The Indycar’s more driveable. In a way it’s more for the driver, which is great. It’s how I think it should be because the public does not know whether you are going five seconds quicker or slower in lap times. The important thing is that the competition can be decided by the drivers, not the cars. I think that’s where Formula 1 has been wrong, especially last season.”

“The Indycar was very new to me. I had to get used to driving with a gear lever again, to a clutch pedal, to the turbo engine, and to the brakes, which are completely different from those in F1, not being carbon brakes.”

“The Penske reminded me of the old days in Formula 1 where human side was the most important thing. Today Formula 1 is so sophisticated that the computers do most of the driving for you. If you have a clever computer, you are in good shape; if you have a monkey one, you’re in trouble, you know? What I experienced with the Indy car was that human input has a tremendous value – and I really got excited about it.”

I liked what Senna had to say about his experience in the Indycar.    So……

What do we think the nature of live racing is when the audience has difficulty perceiving what a driver is contributing to his own victory?

“In my opinion, the visceral aspect of the sport has been dampened as the live action on track seems to determine less and less the outcome of any particular race. Shunts, accidents, and much less frequently, driver error provide small segments of action interspersed with insanely smooth cornering and driving. But how much of this control over the car can we attribute to the driver?”

I agree with Moss in his opionion that the ‘winningness’ of a car has been moving out of the drivers’ hands, and essentially into the hands of the pitcrew laptop operator. As a live sport, covering laptop operation surely is limited at best, but I’d like to see more of the technical aspect of the sport explored by FOM in thier race day coverage.

There certainly is a new kind of F1 today. And with that comes a new generation of fan, one that usually isn’t old enough to know about or make mention of Clark, Moss, or Nuvolari, but is just young enough to know quite a bit about computers!

“11tenths” from San Francisco