Tag Archives: San Francisco Formula 1 Group

‘SENNA’ US DVD and Blu Ray Released, in Pictures

© The Cahier Archive

‘Senna’ has been circulating around American theaters and streaming on demand since it’s opening last August, and moviegoers have followed the film’s rise in popularity and universal appeal with hundreds of glowing reviews from around the world.  Since it’s award-winning premiere at Sundance, F1 fans and non-F1 fans alike have taken to the film’s narrative approach and dramatic documentary footage.  To see ‘Senna’ is to watch one of racing’s brightest stars rise with humility and determination in the competitive world of F1 while learning what kind of hero Ayrton Senna became to his beloved people of Brazil.

Putting this two-time BAFTA winning documentary together was director Asif Kapadia, a native of Great Britain, who on a trip to California visited our local F1 community in San Francisco to attend the film’s opening at a packed theater.  We spoke over dinner before he took questions from a riveted audience later that evening and he mentioned several times in our conversation the idea that this film had what he called ‘Senna moments’ – times throughout the project where things just came together through the kindness or unexpected help of others.

I felt our meeting last August was one such moment, having contacted Asif through Facebook and later via email to encourage him to visit San Francisco.  I held out hope that he might make it to meet the hundreds of F1 fans I watch racing with each Sunday, and he did, staying until well after 1am on a Thursday night to meet with our group.  Asif went on to appear at five more screenings in the Bay Area, all full, at each one staying afterwards to sign posters, answer questions, and talk about the film.  Thank you, Asif, for taking the time away from your family and friends to make watching your film so memorable.

If you’ve haven’t seen the film, or even if you have, I strongly encourage you to support a fine film and film maker, one whose interest in story and subject guides you through the world of international racing and humanity at its extremes.  Many in our audience felt that with so much going on in the movie, ‘Senna’ truly stands up to a second viewing.  The film’s US release on Blu Ray is July 10, and to capture a few highlights from Senna’s life and career, I’ve asked Paul-Henri Cahier for permission to share his art around one of his favorite subjects.  Clickable images will open up each year’s worth of Senna in Formula 1, please enjoy:


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Director Asif Kapadia Arrives in San Francisco with ‘SENNA’

F1 didn’t slow down quite as much this August thanks to the opening of SENNA across the United States. The agency promoting the film, Electric Artists, has been working feverishly to connect with different communities, networks, and groups across the country through a network of volunteers and event organizers, and the results have been impressive. The film opens in over 50 US cities in the coming month, with several groups and car clubs organizing events, fundraisers and gatherings around the screenings in their city.

Here in San Francisco, the F1 Group I moderate had been waiting for this film for some time, and while everyone was glad to see it finally arrive, the film’s opening date coincided with the first day of the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, a popular event held just a couple of hours away. Since a key audience for the film would not be in town that day, I spoke with Electric Artists and lobbied for an earlier date ahead of Friday with the idea that a coordinated screening would give those going for the weekend a chance to see the film and share the good word. The reviews were in and only made everyone want to see the film that much sooner.

After some thought on the idea, they suggested a possible screening late Thursday, and with just a week to go until the opening weekend in the Bay Area, the word came down that the theater could hold one special screening at 9:45pm on Thursday, and we could either take it or leave it. Theaters get that way, and while not the easiest time to bring a crowd out, with a little hard work we would get the word out quickly and fill the 285 seat theater.

Several of our members belong to other car clubs, so I was confident we would make this happen together – but the next day the news got even better – director Asif Kapadia agreed to visit us for the screening before his return home to London. News travelled fast in the car community, and the event sold out in just four days, with another five Bay Area screenings with Asif added soon after the advance screening filled up.



On the way to the theater on Thursday, Asif called about my earlier invitation to dinner before the screening, and my girlfriend and I picked him up downtown and joined our friends for a great evening where we learned more about the process he went through in making the film – all of which made for a very memorable night. The film played to a full house and he stayed until 1am signing autographs and graciously spoke to the audience after an extensive Q&A session [video]. I thank Asif and Electric Artists on behalf of the San Francisco F1 Group for helping make this special night possible.


Thanks again to SENNA director, Asif Kapadia (more photos)


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A Visit to Vijay Mallya’s Car Collection

I’ve been organizing Formula 1 events in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005, with race viewing parties numbering over 100 at last count. Safe to say, I’ve brought more F1 fans to view races together as a group in the US than any other single person, and one of the best things I’ve been able to do with our 1,500+ person group is bring everyone out to local car collections, museums, and events.

It’s quite a bit of work putting together a group of racing fans – something I’ve learned firsthand – but like any group of passionate people, when you get them together to enjoy a special event, it’s really something to see so many happy faces.  Last night was just such an event, as members of our group visited Vijay Mallya’s private car collection, located just North of San Francisco.

The San Francisco F1 Group at The Mallya Collection

The Force India F1 Team principal has over 200 cars in his collection worldwide, and all fall under the care and direction of Malcolm Page, curator.  I met Malcolm in 2008 when I introduced our group and brought a group of F1 fans to see the cars, and we’ve been lucky to have an enthusiastic supporter open the doors more than once to such an interesting and important collection.

Malcolm’s background in automobiles and racing brought him to the position of Vijay Mallya’s collection curator after his development of the Porsche 962CR – a rare supercar that sped its way through development at Malcolm’s direction at the peak of the supercar market in the early 90’s. After the project was put on hiatus, Malcolm answered an Autosport ad seeking a curator of classic racing and vintage cars along with 150 other applicants, and was selected by Vijay Mallya to oversee the entire collection.

Our group tour began when we met Malcolm at the home of the VJM002 chassis that Giancarlo Fisichella took to the pole at Spa in 2009.  This only just arrived in the US in May of this year, and according to Malcolm, this chassis is currently the most recent example of an F1 car in the United States.  For many in our group who follow the sport, this was the first time many had seen a recent spec car in person.  This chassis also had special significance to our group as it was also the very one local racing hero J.R. Hildebrand took his test in last December in Jerez.


Fischella's Force India F1 chassis from Spa, 2009

Only a portion of the total collection is located in the US, with many cars remaining in India under orders from the State.  Considered national treasures by the Indian Government, many of Vijay’s cars will never leave the country.  For our group, Malcolm was able to accommodate a small gathering at the collections’  home where everyone enjoyed photographing and admiring beautiful original examples.

Recently displayed at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder sits in the collection, the last to be built, it is considered to be the most original example in existence.  Nearby, a stunning 1966 Ferrari 365 California Spyder (one of 14 built) sits  just beside a 1954 Jaguar D type works Le Mans car – all under the constant care of Malcolm.

Special thanks to Malcolm for making our visit possible, and for more on Malcolm and the rest of the cars in the collection, please visit the collection’s website, many of our group’s photos from past visits are available on the Mallya Collection Facebook group.

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