In Our Days

senna_schumacherSentences starting with “in our days” are frequently heard clichés from our elders. I started to follow Formula 1 in 1996 with real interest. In spite of that I knew the near history especially the Senna-Prost era very well.

I knew that a man who became champion in 1994 and 1995 twice in a row was starting over from the point of zero. I remember his competitions against Hill as well as I remember the goals of Fenerbahce. I have created a wide Formula 1 archive in time, I even mixed some of the faster pieces with his press conference, mp4 and f310 sounds.

I was so sad to see him as 3rd in 1996 and his championship miss at the last race in 1997. My man who suffered from many setbacks for 2 years was losing due to technology in 1998 and losing due to a big misfortune with technology in 1999. He was closing the season with a broken leg as a result of an accident at the Silverstone. Each time he lost a pole position and each race was in fact making me focus on my goal of two weeks and made me wait for the weekend with Friday to start a new free practice. I was waiting for my hero who would say “stop” to technology with his talent, again with rain or a new Brown-Todt strategy.

He was overtaking McLaren which is 8th position at Spa98.
He was not having a rest on Saturday and tested a start-up system. 2-4 ranking of Ferrari was becoming 1-3 with the 5th red light on Sunday.
The first win in Catalonia 96, under heavy rain and among many better cars reminded me of Senna. The pole position that he earned for Ferrari at Donnington 93, Monza 96 at home after so many years. It was incredible that the pole position made with that car at Monaco 96.
after a long time AAAfter a long time successes started to come with the double with Irvine at Magny-Cours 98.
I still cannot understand how he could win 3 races in the 1996 season against the strong Benetton and Williams teams of the season.

Maybe nobody will ever be asked that question again: “Euhh Michael, this is your 41st victory, which puts you equal with all time winner Ayrton Senna. How do you feel?”.  Nobody will give the answer he gave even if they were asked!

Italians threw their TV sets out of the windows when they became the world champions saying  TVs could not show anything better than that. When he became the world champion for the 5th time in Magny-Cours due to a mistake of Raikonen, he hugged Jean Todt. He was crying. It reminded me of Senna again, look I remember him again and my eyes got wet again. When I see a crying F1 pilot or a crashing F1 car, I remember Senna and Kaan Onuk, who commented on Senna’s death as “Man how happy he must have been, he died in his car, when racing where he loved most” and unfortunately we lost him due to a car accident too.

I want my Schumi to stay like that, like always. I want to tell my grand children about him saying “In our days..”. Maybe I want him to quit when he is at the top like Eric Cantona. Isn’t there a moment that makes us love someone or something? For me that moment was his facial expression after dropping a lap to Alesi at Interlagos 96. I’ll never forget that!
There will never be another F1 pilot after him who can make me feel the way he made me feel. I guess I finished my mission as an F1 fan. I could not write anything on our list for a long time because I did not get anything from it. I haven’t been reading your writings for months either. Maybe I was angry with technology, especially technology he created with Ferrari, breaking him too.

He was big for me because he was side by side with Senna, cried with Hakkinen, rebelled against technology every year and stood as a symbol of resistance. Now that resistance has unfortunately gone. Driving an F1 has become as easy as playing a game with a Force Feedback steering wheels for the pilots.

I am sad now because I did like one bit and was very angry with Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Alesi once.. Because my hero is left with nothing to do now.. Because technology came to a point that the feeling of resistance has lost his meaning.

Maybe Raikonen will say “ there was a young man you gave a license for only 4 races”, just like the young man who was brought to SPA for just 1 race. And then maybe I will remember with my Kimi;  my Schumi and Senna. I will wait for that time and I will make that time “in our days”. Then I will write my articles and defend the guy who resisted.

Cengiz –  July 24, 2002 kaan_onuk

This is January 19, 2014. It has been exactly 18 years since we lost our Kaan. It has been 12 years since I published the article above to a Formula 1 group at that time. There have been 5 more people who have been F1 champions so far. Raikonen has been one too. None of them could  make me write again. Schumi won two more championships and said goodbye to F1. He has been in a coma as a result of a skiing accident for 1 month. I don’t know if he can survive, but I know that I will always remember him “that” way, like the way I wrote many years ago, just like the legendary Murray Walker said.

Just thinking about it now makes me realize. You were the one who made F1 my passion Kaan. Rest in peace.

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