Here is the video of the last lap of Ayrton Senna in a Formula 1 car before his fatal crash at Imola in 1994.

This footage is presented in the culmination of a documentary simply entitled ‘Senna’ that was released in 2010. Being an avid Formula 1 fan I finally watched it a week ago and it struck me on a deep level, as I believe it would anyone, racing fan or not. This is a film about more than sport and more than fame or money.

Evidently the film is harrowing, but it can only be so with the knowledge of hindsight, with the capacity to perceive time in a linear fashion. In watching the footage the viewer cannot avoid the thought that they know they are watching someone’s final moments alive and with that comes a feeling of guilt, of fear and compassion for this person. But for Senna, of course, he could not know that he was about to die. What this film does is make you really consider the nature of your own death and the time that you have left. It makes you question how you should be spending that time and it makes you fear mortality, but love the precious time that you do have.

In totality, these themes should help us to pursue an acceptance of the time we have and of the realisation of our impermanence. The fear and disgust this footage may occasionally raise in us is proportional to our own fear of dying, our inability to accept the inevitable in each of our own lives. To embrace and accept the reality of our future, of our death, is far more likely to lead to a happier time today.


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