Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jo Ramirez ignores significant facts of the life of Ayrton Senna

Jo Ramirez, ex Team Coordinator (Logistics) of the McLaren team from 1984 until 2001, gave several interviews in 2010, prior to the world release of the movie-documentary "Senna", by Asif Kapadia. In those interviews, suprisingly, Ramirez stated some false assumptions about Senna's life, including some remarkable mistakes of what happened at Imola 1994 and Senna's private life. Surprisingly because Ramirez is mentioned as one of the sources when it comes to Senna's life, but his statements are for the most part inaccurate.

--- Interview for a Mexican newspaper - 2010---

After many sporting events, television cameras chase the protagonists to plant a microphone in front of them, ask questions to the heroes of the day. But despite the coverage (many of them are not exactly good at making statements), the fact that you watch all the races or matched, analyze each match, all interviews, all the repetitions, you can not say that because you have watched it, you already know everything about the spirit of the sport and the driver.

Ayrton Senna goes to take a look at the Canadian track, 1992, behind him, Jo Ramirez

The magic is still reserved for the movies.

This is exactly what happens with "Senna" , Asif Kapadia 's documentary about the legendary Brazilian Formula 1 driver. The documentary focuses on the driver, not the person, addicted to the speed, but more so, obsessed with the triumph. A fearless man , who made out of his art a religion .

This fascinating story of obsession, triumph and tragedy had a witness close to us : " Jo " Ramirez .

Contrary to what one might think , the lives of the people involved in the race are not as glamorous as it seems . JoaquĆ­n " Jo " Ramirez , a native of Mexico Narvarte- Mexico City, entered the motorsport by the back door : cleaning workshops at Ferrari , washing the cars , ordering the tools , sleeping whenever he could , eating there.

On the way , he met and befriended great racing legends such as Jackie Stewart , Mika Hakkinen , Alain Prost and, of course, Ayrton Senna .

Before the premiere of the documentary about Senna , we talked with Jo Ramirez about his colleague, Ayrton Senna da Silva . This is the interview.

- How did you meet Senna?

- I met him when he had just arrived in Brazil, I was working for Fittipaldi and he raced in Formula Ford. Emerson was the one who introduced me to him, and the three talked. Emerson said, "watch carefuly because this boy is going to be one of the greatest in history." Still, Emerson didn't imagined at that time that Ayrton would become so great.

Actually Jo Ramirez was just a Logistics Assistant at McLaren, never more than that to Ayrton Senna. He wasn't a personal friend of Ayrton Senna and only knew him within the working relationship. This is the reason why Jo Ramirez ignores many important facts of the life of Ayrton Senna, of course of his private life, but what is more striking, is that Ramirez also seems to mistake many important facts of his public life. He makes some very significant errors when he talks about Senna in this interview. These are the reasons why Jo Ramirez can not be regarded as a reliable source of information about the life of Ayrton Senna.

- Senna, the documentary mentions that his hunger for speed was almost religious, how would you describe the need for speed?

- Speed ​​is our business, Senna was born to drive cars, I've never seen someone who is so passionately dedicated to a sport. He was very diligent at work, nothing was given him free. For example, everyone knows how good he was when the track was wet, but he trained very hard; when it started to rain, he drew his kart and practiced. He was a phenomenon, a man destined to win.

Ayrton Senna, after winning the Monaco GP in 1992, is welcomed by his team members Josef Leberer - left - and Jo Ramirez - right -

- The Senna - Prost rivalry was really as big as it looks in the film ?

- Yes, it was very difficult to manage both, but it was the price of having two big stars, rather than having two guys who can not drive. The truth is that the two respected each other and Ayrton became an obsession for Prost. In the documentary Prost appeared as a villain and I disagree with this perception, in fact both were complementary, great rivalry made ​​both. I believe that if Senna had not died , the two would have been good friends. One thing : the day before his death, Senna ate with Prost.

False : once again, Jo Ramirez shows he has no rigour when he reports the facts. He probably only speaks of what he heard and not what he saw in person . He distort the facts. Senna did not "eat " with Alain Prost on the day before he died. Actually Ayrton Senna saw Alain Prost in the Renault motorhome restaurant and went to sit beside him , without saying a word. He remained there for a long time without saying a single word ( source: book " The life of Senna , Tom Rubython), not eating. This is what Alain Prost says, who knows better about his own life than Jo Ramirez, who at McLaren was working as a logistics assistant, not as a personal friend of Senna. And what is more important : this did not happen "one day before Senna died," but on the same day of his death, at noon. Prost was eating at the restaurant in the Renault motorbox and Senna went there not to eat with him, but just sat there for a few moments, perhaps trying to calm down before the race and after the death of Ratzenberger. The truth is that Alain Prost was a great motivation to Senna during his career and that's what Senna was missing in Formula 1 at the start of the 1994 season.

- The documentary projects the image of a Senna obsessed not for the podium , but with the glory to come first, as you have experienced this obsession to get as close to him ?

- It is true that Ayrton was obsessed with victory. Generally he was not happy in second or third place. But he also liked to take some distance from it, I remember one occasion he had a bad start, began to overtake and pass, and finished third. He was very pleased with the result, despite not getting on the first position . What motivated him was competition, competing to win, always .

Jo is contradicting himself here. If what motivated Senna was winning (as everyone knows), competing and arriving in 3rd position wasn't just enough for him. This occasion when Senna got third and was happy about it it was in the 1991 season, when he knew he didn't have the best car, since the Williams were, and therefore, he could not sacrifice an entire race just for the sake of winning, but managed to calm himself down and realise that points were points after all. Otherwise, from a pure personal point of view about racing, Senna has said that what motivated him was exclusively winning, not just competing... "Winning is the most important thing. That story that competing is the most important is not true." 

Ayrton Senna receives a tribute from the McLaren team, at the farewell party after the Australian GP in 1993
- There is something in the documentary that you dislike, or feel that is not exact?

- The fact that Prost is seen almost as a villain and as I said before, in fact, both had a lot of respect for each other. Prost was never an obsession for Ayrton. In fact , the only driver that Senna really feared was Terry Fulerton, a driver from his days in karting. I did not like that much in the documentary that Xuxa is in it. It was a passage in the life of Senna , but it was not her, with whom he was going to marry, he would marry his last girlfriend, Adrian Galisteu, but the family did not give permission to have her in the film .

There are many inaccuracies in this answer... First of all: it's false that Alain Prost was never an obsession for Ayrton Senna. All friends, family and experts in Formula 1 and even Alain Prost, say that Ayrton Senna was obsessed with Prost, in the sense that Senna wanted to beat Prost, while Prost did not care too much about Senna. Senna, on the other hand, arrived at the McLaren team with only one idea in mind : to destroy Prost in his own territory, and so he did . That's why Senna lost part of his motivation during the 1994 season, when Prost retired, and that's why he said that phrase on French television on Sunday, May 1, 1994 : "Alain , I miss you." Again, Jo Ramirez proves that he knew nothing about the real facts of the life of Senna , despite being close to him in the McLaren team. 

And it's also false that Ayrton Senna was going to marry the brazilian model, Adriane Galisteu. Senna himself had stated just a month before his death in an interview to the Brazilian magazine "Caras" that he did not intend to marry her, and showed a quite reluctant attitude towards his girlfriend, Adriane Galisteu. He said in that interview that he had not yet found the right woman to marry, he refused to mention Adriane as his girlfriend, and he said he wanted to look around for other women to find someone better. Many interpret this interview in the magazine Caras as the first step that Ayrton Senna gave in order to break up with Adriane Galisteu. Senna was disappointed with her for her vulgar photos in the same magazine, Caras, made ​​in February 1994, where she posed in some very embarassing poses. He felt deeply humiliated and gave an interview a month before his death 
where he said that  "you can not always be with the person you love" referring to his former girlfriend Xuxa.

It is also false that Adriane Galisteu did not appear in the film "Senna" of Asif Kapadia. She does appear, although very briefly, only a few seconds: she can be seen on the back of the motorbike Ayrton in Monaco 1993, the first time he took her with him to the Formula 1 circuits. Now, given the paramount importance of Xuxa in the life of Ayrton, as he had said numerous times, stating that she was the love of his life, and not Adriane , it is obvious that Xuxa deserved more time in the film than Adriane Galisteu. Ayrton spent over three years with Xuxa and only 13 months with Adriane Galisteu. Ayrton always stated that Xuxa was his true love, and he never said anything about loving Adriane Galisteu. The only person who says he was in love with her was Adriane herself. In the book she wrote only 5 months after Senna's death to make money. Adriane was more of a partner during the Formula 1 season for Senna, rather than a "big love". This is proved by the words of Ayrton Senna in several interviews, on television and in the press . He never said Adriane Galisteu was a possible future wife and those closest to him, like his friends or family, deny that. 

- You were there the day of the accident that killed Senna. Jo Ramirez: how did you spent that day?

- After the accident, I did not know anything. Obviously, they stopped the race, I kept doing routine things to finish, but I have not heard the news or anything. Inside I was convinced that he would not die, he was out of danger ... in some manner.

- What do you think is the legacy of Senna?

- Senna took Formula 1 to a new level. He showed that it was possible to do more, no matter the conditions. It is important that his legacy and his memory are known.


1 comment:

  1. I find it curious that you refer to Tom Rubything's book, a volume in which he also says Ayrton had a very solid connection with Adriane. If you really wanted to be precise about facts, you should've included what Rubython said about that in the book.


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