Great news for all the Ayrton Senna fans out there: Netflix has a new eight-part documentary series in the works about the Formula One great, and we’ll likely see it sometime in 2022. If Senna and Drive to Survive are anything to go by, this series will be a pretty solid success.
If you’re wondering why we need another film series about Senna when the 2010 Senna documentary has covered anything, you’re not alone. My husband read the news out to me, and I wrinkled my nose. Why rehash something that already exists?
But the more I read about it, the more I’m willing to give it a shot. Brazilian filmmaker Gullane, a company founded by two brothers, has partnered with Senna’s family to attempt to tell the “unheard” aspects of the driver’s story. According to Motorsport, Gullane has been given “unprecedented access” to information about Senna’s life. There’s a good chance the series could offer a view that fans haven’t heard before.
That said, critical representations of Senna are few and far between. There’s no doubt that Senna gives me chills and makes for an enjoyable watch, but the 2010 film definitely takes the good guy vs. bad guy stance that positions Senna as the hero and Alain Prost as the villain. Viewers walk away with the view that Senna was something of a martyr without examining his difficult-to-reckon with complexities (personally, that comes in the form of framing his slightly dangerous approach to throwing himself into inappropriate positions on track as a good thing that all drivers should aspire to).
I’m not particularly confident that this docuseries is going to be completely different. The Gullane brothers have described Senna as “the type of person we need, a young man that fought for his dream and faced many obstacles in order to represent a nation.” It kind of sounds like we’re getting another Senna-is-the-best-and-most-perfect-driver view.
I’m still going to watch the hell out of it and hope for the best, but you’re damn right I’m going to be skeptical until proven wrong.
The series reportedly starts, not necessarily with Senna’s childhood, but with his move to the United Kingdom in 1981 to start establishing his international racing career. It will end with Senna’s death in 1994. The series will also be shot in both English and Portuguese.
Other than that, details are few and far between. Production has just started, after all, with 2022 being the earliest prospective release date.