For a while I was following an account on twitter, and visa versa, named Senna versus Schumacher book. Their tweets have always been interesting and informative. At some point I received a tweet from them if I was interested to make a review about their book “Senna versus Schumacher and other Formula One rivalries that never happened”. Just the title inspired me instantly to read the book. A bit longer than expected here is the review of what I would call an amazing and mind escaping book.
The book was send from America to my address, it meant that I would take some time before the book would arrive over here. It gave me a bit of time to do some reading on the website they opened back in 2012 for the book. One of the first reads on the website was an interesting one. While the book contains five stories of rivalries that never happened. On the website there were seven rivalries summed up. Reutemann versus Andretti, Cevert versus Lauda and Rindt versus Stewart. Perhaps another book will appear? Would love it to read those stories as well.
The book is written by Dutchies Christiaan W. Lustig, which you may know from the early days of Autosport.nl (well I do), and Mattijs Diepraam well known from Forix, also one of the people that inspired me to start with Unracedf1.com. As well Richard Armstrong wrote an article about Richard Seamon and the 1939 European World Championship and the aftermath. Included is a foreword of Kees van de Grint, the engineer at Bridgestone in the Schumi days.
As the books title reveals the main story is about the rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher that never happened. We all know or read the events that happened in May 1994 at Imola. When first Rubens Barrichello survived a horror crash on the Friday. On Saturday Roland Ratzenberger lost its life during the qualification session. And on Sunday we lost Ayrton Senna when he crashed out of the race.
I won’t go deeply into the stories as I believe this is a book you have to read for yourself, to experience and explore the what if’s of the Formula One. This is the type of book that will trigger your mind and fantasy. It took a while for myself to finish the book. Many times my mind went to another place where I saw the rivalries happening. I have a mind that ‘s pretty alive and able to imagine how it would have been. For example while the story went about Schumacher and Senna, my mind went to Team Lotus in Monza 1994. What if Eddie Irvine did not hit Johnny Herbert? What if Johnny Herbert did finish on the podium, would Team Lotus survived? This is why it took to so long for me to complete it.
What I liked about the stories is that they started just before the moment a driver had an accident which they did not survive or made them to quit with racing. As example is the story about Villeneuve versus Prost and Moss versus Clark. Another positive thing is how the authors wrote down the stories in Senna versus Schumacher. It just felt like it really happened. You can imagine it, and you can almost touch and smell it. I think you know what I mean with this.
I enjoyed especially the story in Senna versus Schumacher written by Richard Armstrong. He wrote the story about Seaman and the 1939 European season. Mostly because the story happened just before World War Two. While the story begins in the good days, you can feel during the writing the tension of the time. The closer the story goes towards the start of the war, the more the tension becomes in the story. I really appreciate it.
I can only come to one conclusion about the book. If you fantasize about alternative outcomes of championships in the Formula One. Or fantasize about alternative rivalries this is the book you have to purchase. The book is easy to read even if your native language is not English at all. Sometimes it can be complicated if you read the older stories if you don’t know a bit of the background of the drivers. I would recommend to buy Senna versus Schumacher and have it on your bookshelves.
The book is available as E-book as well as a paperback version and is available in several online stores such as Amazon and LuLu. Or search on ISBN 978-1-326-24401-9. Be sure to follow them as well in twitter.