With the focus in F1 today very much on young drivers and new talent coming into the top echelon of the sport, it is timely that a new film has come out, which tells the behind the scenes story of a legendary battle 33 years ago between two young drivers in British F3, who were springboarded into F1 the following season.
Ayrton Senna went on to become a three times world champion and many people’s idea of the greatest driver in F1 history.
The man who gave him a hard time and beat him regularly was Martin Brundle who had a long F1 career – despite a terrible leg injury early on – and is today one of F1’s leading broadcasters with SKY.
The film is set around the famous 1983 British F3 season in which the pair competed for the title.
The story of Senna vs Brundle is one that was due a comprehensive telling and Mario Muth has put in the effort to bring it to life. Muth is a photographer and film maker, who has done profile videos of a number of F1 figures.
The idea came out of a conversation with Asif Kapadia, one third of the award-winning team behind the Senna movie, along with Manish Pandey and James Gay-Rees. Scenes of Senna’s pre-F1 career didn’t make the final cut of that film for various editorial reasons and Muth realised that there was a good story to tell about this special season, which didn’t have millions of witnesses.
The 1983 British F3 season was compelling; I know because I went to most of the races as a 16 year old. Growing up in the North West of England, I went to everything at Oulton Park, my local track and made regular visits to Silverstone and occasionally Donington. But this was a compelling story and so my Dad and I followed it; it was like following a football team around the UK to away matches.
It’s important for new generations of motorsport fans to be aware of the less obvious stories and this one is well worth finding out about. It’s good for Martin Brundle as it casts him in a different light for SKY F1 viewers, to realise that he went toe-to-toe with one of the greatest drivers ever. He was later team mate at Benetton in 1992 with another of the all time greats, Michael Schumacher.
Ironically, although we speak about young drivers, Senna was 23 that season and Brundle 24.
Muth says: “For the first time in one movie, 14 key people from that year recall the events that enabled Martin to jump straight into F1 and saw Ayrton properly challenged, on and off the track, for the first time in his junior racing career. This film is not just about racing and competing, it explores how important confidence is in performing at the very top level.
“The people participating in the film are Martin Brundle, Davy Jones, Calvin Fish, Allen Berg, Mario Hytten, Dick Bennetts, Eddie Jordan, Alastair Macqueen, Neil Trundle, Murray Walker, Jeremy Shaw, David Tremayne, Simon Arron and Keith Sutton. The film also features a tape recording from Ayrton from 1983, archive footage recorded that year and over 250 pictures. It is produced in 4k (UHD).”
The film will be released on Tuesday 26th April, shortly before the May 1 anniversary of Senna’s tragic death at Imola in 1994.