Friday Photo – Senna’s Toleman-Hart TG184-2 for sale

If you’ve got £1million spare, you could be the owner of this rather special piece of Ayrton Senna history. But is there more than meets the eye with this car?

1984 Senna Toleman-Hart TG184-2

Currently on sale with specialist luxury car dealer Prindiville in London, this Toleman-Hart TG184-2 was driven by Senna during his rookie F1 year in 1984. It’s also the car in which he showed his true potential at that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

1984 Senna Toleman-Hart TG184-2

Starting from 13th on the grid, in truly horrendous wet conditions, Senna worked his way up to take the lead by the end of lap 32. That would be no mean feat at a normal circuit, let alone within the twisty confines of Monaco. Yet, displaying his immense talent, Senna overtook big names like Lauda, Mansell, Piquet, Arnoux, Tambay, and (Keke) Rosberg. Oh, and Alain Prost.

It was Prost who Senna passed to take the lead. However, as he did so, the race was red-flagged with the results taken from the positions on the previous lap. Senna was therefore denied his first F1 win, but the world had seen what potential the young Brazilian had to offer. It’s also a reminder that Senna’s F1 career lasted only ten years before that tragedy at Imola in 1994, yet he won the World Championship three times in that period. (more…)

Imola 1994 – Remembering Senna

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna. Here, EngageSportMode’s editor shares a few words on what that day meant to him, and the lasting impact it had.

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Ayrton Senna’s Lotus Renault from the 1980s. Photo taken at 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

For whatever reason, Formula 1 accidents at the San Marino Grand Prix seem to stick in my memory. Perhaps my earliest motorsport recollection is seeing Gerhard Berger’s 1989 accident at Tamburello, with the car bursting into flames following a 180 mph impact with the barriers. I was only four years old at the time, but sitting on the floor watching that drama unfold on TV, has stayed with me the 25 years since.

Other than Nigel Mansell winning the F1 World Championship at the 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix, the next memory in my F1 collection is Imola 1994. Just writing those combination of words produces a strange feeling in my stomach. I think it’s the same for many Formula 1 and motorsport fans throughout the world; the sequence of that race circuit and that year will forever be a black mark in Grand Prix history. There’s no need to repeat the story here. If you haven’t seen it, then you need to watch Asif Kapadia’s Senna documentary film. I’ll openly admit that despite quite clearly knowing the ‘ending’ to it (more…)

Friday Photo – Ayrton Senna

Today, 21st March, would have been Ayrton Senna’s 54th birthday. You might have already noticed a special ‘Google Doodle’ on the search engine’s front page today, depending on where you are in the world, as a tribute to the Brazilian F1 legend.

We think it’s a nice, touching, way of remembering Senna, ahead of the 20th anniversary of his tragic death at Imola on May 1st 1994. For whatever reason, not every country got to see the Google Doodle today, so for those who didn’t here’s how it looked on the homepage:

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Ayrton Senna ‘Google Doodle’ – 21st March 2014

We’ll say no more, but just leave our own photo of Senna’s 1986 Lotus-Renault 98T here, as ESM’s gesture of remembrance.


Friday Photo from the archives #9

Ok, it’s another FFFA which isn’t actually a photo, but a video. But, in our defence, it is quite a special video.

We mentioned in yesterday’s post about F1-inspired road cars about the importance of the link between Ayrton Senna and Honda. That link is obviously, still, of importance to Honda to this day as their Japanese marketing department has just released this advert:

I cannot begin to comprehend the expense which must have gone into it, or what was going through the mind of the person who came up with the concept. However, if adverts are meant to be emotive, then this one succeeds on a truly grand scale. I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t leave you with the hairs on the back of your neck standing up.

F1 Inspired Road Car Specials

The new Renaultsport Megane Red Bull Racing RB8 featured recently isn’t the first, and is unlikely to be the last, road car linked to a Formula 1 racer. Here are five more with varying levels of motorsport credibility.

1. 2001 Fiat Seicento Sporting Schumacher Edition

Seicento Schumacher

Way back at the turn of the century, there was a German who dominated Formula 1, by winning championship after championship with consummate ease. He was also a little bit smug about it all. Sound familiar? (more…)

F1 2013 – Senna’s Mid-season Review

After nine rounds of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship, EngageSportMode’s canine correspondent reviews how things stand so far.

Formula 1 2013 – State of Play So Far


Tyres. Seriously, if I hear any more jokes about Pirelli and their lack of durability I’m going to go leave a “present” on somebody’s front lawn. It’s true to say black round things have dominated the 2013 so far, either by degrading too quickly or just downright exploding into little bits. I’ve got chew toys made of better quality rubber than these tyres; perhaps that’s a new job opening for me next year.

But anyway, here’s a run down of how the teams and drivers are performing. Who’s a good boy, and who gets sent to the doghouse?

Red Bull Racing



2013 Australian Grand Prix – The Review (featuring Senna)

The first race of the Formula 1 season is always a strange one, not least because for European viewers it happens ridiculously early on a Sunday morning. F1’s opening night tends to showcase who has potential for the year ahead and, more importantly, who has more work to do back at the factory. 2013’s edition was no exception, although the unexpected weather and split qualifying sessions meant Australia was possibly not the truest representation of where things currently lie.

The EngageSportMode team made a concerted effort to stay up and watch the rescheduled late-night qualifying session and the race itself live. Getting up at 6am is tough on the best of days, but a Sunday just seems to make it several times harder. Senna, ESM’s F1 canine correspondent, was dragged from her bed and made to watch also. Afterwards she spent the day chewing sticks, sleeping, and rolling in badger crap. But in between all that we managed to get her opinion on who performed best and worst Down Under.

Red Bull
Qualifying: Vettel – 1st, Webber – 2nd
Race: Vettel – 3rd, Webber – 6th

A front-row lock out should have yielded better results than this. Another awful start by Webber ruined his chances in the race. Vettel tried hard, but the car seemed to be struggling with tyres in the colder than expected condition. Sebastian still looks to be the man to beat, and you can guarantee he’ll be fired up for Malaysia.
Senna’s view: I could get an F1 car off the line better than Webber, and I don’t even have hands to hold the clutch paddle!

Qualifying: Alonso – 5th, Massa – 4th
Race: Alonso – 2nd, Massa – 4th

After the surprise of Felipe Massa outqualifying Fernando Alonso, the sardonic Spaniard looked deeply unimpressed at the end of Q3. Predictably it was Alonso who outshone Massa in the race, but the Brazilian’s form looks impressive even if he did fade later on. Fernando leapfrogged Vettel during the second round of pit stops and was able to build an effective barrier between himself and the Red Bull, securing second place.
Senna’s view: Still don’t like Alonso, or his eyebrows, but that Ferrari looks to be a contender already.

Qualifying: Button – 10th, Perez – 15th
Race: Button – 9th, Perez – 11th
Oh dear. Despite having the strongest car at the end of the 2012 season, McLaren seems to have entered 2013 by completely forgetting everything they learnt in the closing stages of last year. Both drivers consistently struggled for pace in both qualifying and the race. The team made a colossal error to send Button and Perez out on slicks in Q2, and then furthered it by keeping the Mexican on them, thus destroying his qualifying. In the actual race things failed to improve, with Button scraping into the points and both cars not hugely far off being lapped.
Senna’s view: Somebody needs to be fired, probably Martin Whitmarsh.

Qualifying: Raikkonen – 7th, Grosjean – 8th
Race: Raikkonen – 1st, Grosjean – 10th

I don’t think anyone really saw this result coming. An average qualifying session transpired into an epic victory for the Iceman, thanks to some superb strategy from the Enstone team. Only needing to stop twice, compared to other’s three stop strategies gave Kimi a compounding advantage, and the first win of 2013. Grosjean had a quiet race which, let’s be honest, is a good thing by his standards.
Senna’s view: Kimi is the only driver I’ve ever seen drink the champagne before spraying it! (more…)

Brazilian Grand Prix: The Aftermath

Yesterday’s Brazilian Grand Prix was possibly the most intense and terrifying motor race I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Never before have I felt the need to actually start drinking beer during a race; such was the sheer drama that occurred at Interlagos.

As I had set out before the race, EngageSportMode was firmly rooting for Sebastian Vettel to take his third World Driver’s Championship, and surpass Ayrton Senna by becoming the youngest winner to do so. Therefore watching the first lap chaos, with Vettel’s RB8 pointing the wrong way with damage, left ESM speechless. The title looked like it had already gone to Alonso before 1/71st of the race was done.

Vettel has come in for criticism from current and past F1 drivers for not being a “true racer” and not being able to overtake or battle for position. Yesterday, as with Abu Dhabi, proved he is more than capable of fighting his way through traffic, to challenge and pass other drivers. With the damage he suffered in turn 4, Sebastian did not have the best car on track at Interlagos. But the rain is a great equaliser, as it was in Monza back in 2008 when he scored his first win, and he was able to use his skills to come back through the field. That is the mark of a true champion and a driver deserved of legendary status, regardless as to what Jackie Stewart might think. Ironically, Vettel has now matched Stewart’s three World Championship titles; somehow I can see him adding more to that, unlike a certain tartan-hatted Scot.

However, more important things were proved by Vettel’s triumph. Namely, you should not listen to this, or the punditry of this:


7 Reasons to Back Vettel Today

In less than an hour, the lights will go out on the final race of the 2012 Formula One World Championship. After an epic season, two drivers still remain in contention for the Driver’s title; Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Both are vying to become triple World Champions, but only one will emerge from Interlagos today as the victor.

EngageSportMode makes no attempt to deny that its allegiances are firmly in the Red Bull camp. But in case you haven’t quite made up your mind whether to back blue or red this afternoon, here are a few reasons to sway you to ESM’s way of thinking.

1. Vettel wants the Championship more

This is purely opinion; obviously I cannot really measure the motivation of each driver. But from the interviews, body language and on-track attitude I would hedge that Vettel is more bothered about taking the title today. He cares about records, achievements and statistics. It will have galled him to not win his 100th Grand Prix in Austin last weekend. In addition, I would imagine that winning three titles in a row would mean more to Sebastian than them spread out over a number of years.

2. That performance at Abu Dhabi

Pundits and drivers alike have criticised Vettel for not being a true racer and only being able to perform from the front of the grid. The 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix blew that argument out of the water, and proved he could overtake and battle through the field. No, it wasn’t perfect; contact with Bruno Senna and the bizarre Ricciardo/polystyrene sign incident certainly slowed his progress. But he still drove from starting in the pit lane, to finish on the podium in third place. (more…)