Gear: An Intimate Look At One Of The World’s Most Popular Drivers, Ayrton Senna

An Intimate Look At One Of The World’s Most Popular Drivers, Ayrton Senna

By Jacopo Villa
April 21, 2015

The book: Ayrton Senna – A Life In Pictures
Author: Mario Donnini
Pages: 208
Purchase: Click here

You could easily describe Ayrton Senna as one of the most influential drivers ever. More amazing is that his charisma as a person matched his skill on the race track. He was a sensation, a spiritual presence on- and off-track, surrounded the entire time by an aura that turned millions of people into fans.

His good deeds off the track echo even today, helping to forget that he perished in a tragic accident at Imola in 1994, an incredible 21 years ago. Thankfully, in a way or another, he is still around.

Countless of pages have been written already, so reviewing another book on his life must not be boring or too repetitive. (That said, it seems as though nobody is ever tired of talking about him—especially alongside his feats of greatness in red-and-white McLarens!)

It’s in this context that I review this book by Mario Donnini, titled, “Ayrton Senna, Life in Pictures”, a recent release from publishers Giorgio Nada Editore. First, I have to congratulate the authors for choosing the picture on the cover: it really tells the whole story of Ayrton and immediately helps you re-live some magic moments of his career.

After reading it in both English and Italian, I must say that this work does not add much to what we already know about Senna: his competition history is reviewed year by year, from the karting days to his last, and tragic, ’94 season. I wouldn’t define it boring, but a format similar to many previous works.

Yet, among the pages, I enjoyed the interviews Donnini was able to do with Senna’s peers, including Jo Ramirez and Martin Brundle, who recalled their time spent at the side of Ayrton. Despite being short interviews, they give an actual perspective on who he was both on the track and on everyday life. Still, I wonder why the author wasn’t able to secure Alain Prost and Gerhard Berger for this book.

Aside from this, the author includes also a few curiosities, like a brief history of Senna’s helmets and changes in its design over the years. Also, the last chapter of the book is dedicated to the Ayrton Senna Foundation, a charity organization that raises awareness and money for Brazilian children. The book also includes a good interview with Ayrton’s sister, Viviane.

In the end, this is not a book looking to revise the personality of Senna nor to reveal any secret details. It’s written by a motorsport journalist, so it is a blend of “racing chronicles” and personal thoughts.

Mario Donelli writes with nostalgia and repeats a story that will never be boring. Moreover, I believe he is trying to tell the story once again because, we all miss Ayrton. If you wish to know more about Ayrton’s story and get a feel of his personality, I would recommend this book.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to expand your knowledge and discover new things about Senna, this isn’t going to teach you anything new—although its excellent graphics would make it a pleasant object in any library.

Purchase Stance & Speed Monograph Series.


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