GLOBETROTTER

A letter to Ayrton Senna

Just thought I'd drop you a quick line to say how much I enjoyed your drive in Estoril the other day. A very good result in the difficult circumstances. Four pit stops and you still finished third. Impressive.

Actually, I reckon that your qualifying lap on Saturday was one of the best I can remember and, you may recall that a couple of years ago there were some really remarkable flying laps in the days of qualifiers.

It must have been a frustrating year driving the shitbox McLaren. No, that's not really the right word, is it. Let's face it, in absolute terms, it is a shitbox, but actually it is a neat beautifully-produced, state-of-the-art racing machine. The problem is that, in a world where everything is relative, the McLaren is slower than the Williams-Renault - and, consequently, it is a shitbox. Everything is relative in F1, isn't it? Look at your talent, for example. All those blokes out there are bloody good, even the ones driving the cars which do not qualify. Racing reporters (who needs them, eh?) may sit around and discuss the finer points of F1 drivers and their talents, but the truth is that you are all super talented. It is just the extra few thousandths which are worth all that lovely money which you superstars collect, as opposed to the debts that some of the pay-drivers manage to bury themselves under.

What am I trying to say? Well, let's face it, everyone is expendable. You know that F1 needs you and, I suppose, this gives you bargaining power, but remember - always remember - that back in the bad old days stars died more often than they retired and there were always new stars. There are new stars standing behind you now. OK, perhaps they are pale shadows of what you are but they are stars nonetheless.

I do hope that you were just posturing when you said you would quit if you didn't get a good car. Let's face it, you are in your prime and you have so much more to win. It doesn't look like you are going to get a Williams, does it? OK, I accept you just never know with these guys, but it does seem that Alain Prost is firmly dug in.

And, another thing, I don't understand this 'Prost is a coward' business. Far be it from me to remind you that a few years ago when a Mr. Warwick wanted to join Team Lotus you blocked his arrival. You may say that Lotus wasn't capable of running two cars at the time and you were doing Derek a favor because of what happened to the man who became your team mate Johnny Dumfries. I am sure you can justify your actions to yourself, but I think that Alain, Williams and Renault all agreed that, after what happened in 1988 and 1989, a Senna-Prost pairing was just impossible. You are too alike, too determined.

Prost is clever, no question. Clever and committed. If you had wanted the Williams drive in 1993 you could have gone to Frank Williams in February this year. He would have signed you then and there. You didn't, did you? Nor did Nigel Mansell. Alain read the situation, took the step and did the deal. I'd call that a brave step myself when you were hedging your bets.

If you cannot have a Williams-Renault, why not a McLaren. OK, so Ron and the boys are a bit off the rails, but you've worked with them long enough to know that Ron hates losing. You're still young, you will win many more races.

That's about it really. You may say what do I know, I'm just an onlooker. Sure, I accept that. But I am also a fan and when your fans start asking questions about you, maybe you need to listen. You are a fabulous driver, an inspiration and a great champion. We know you can be a great ambassador for the sport. Remember when Fangio said you were a great champion, but not a great sportsman. And you said you would try to achieve that. Well, I don't think this is the way to achieve that goal.

See you in Japan.

Joe

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