Described as Netflix’s “most ambitious series ever in Latin America,” a biopic of the life of Ayrton Senna, the three-time world championship-winning driver of Formula 1, is in development. We’re keeping track of everything you need to know about Senna, including the plot, cast news, production updates, and the Netflix release date.
Senna is an upcoming Brazilian Netflix Original biopic based on the life and career of legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna. The project was first announced back in 2020. Gullane is the production company behind the series.
In 2022, it was revealed that the series would be directed by Vicente Amorim, who previously directed features such as Yakuza Princess, Dirty Hearts, and Good. Julia Rezende has also been listed as one of the directors who previously directed the Netflix series Girls from Ipanema.
Amorim had the following to say about the project:
I’ve had many idols in the sport, but only one hero, Senna. I watched his races, I rooted for him, I was inspired by him and I was in tears the day he died.
Senna was an international hero and through Netflix a series about him will have global reach – it will be an international series, produced and directed by Brazilians, that will move the home crowd and tell Senna’s fantastic story to new audiences and old fans all over the world.
Action and emotion defined who Senna was and what this series will be. We will put the audience in the driver’s seat, with Senna, in each of the cars he drove and try to reveal his genius while, at the same time, striving to understand the man, to open a window into his personal life, his challenges and his incredibly victorious career in a sport rigged against non-Europeans
What is the plot of Netflix’s Senna?
We have the confirmed synopsis for the Senna series;
The miniseries will explore Ayrton Senna da Silva’s personality and family relationships. The starting point will be Ayrton’s career debut, when he moved to England, and will culminate in the tragic accident in Imola, Italy, during the San Marino Grand Prix, when he died.
Who was Ayrton Senna?
Ayrton Senna da Silva was a Brazilian racing driver, a legend of Formula 1, and considered to be one of the greatest F1 drivers in the history of the sport.
One of three Brazilian drivers to become world champion, Senna won the world championship three times while driving for the racing team McLaren. Senna won a total of 41 Grands Prix and held the record for most positions (65) until it was eventually beaten in 2006.
Sadly, on May 1st, 1994, during the San Marino Grand Prix, a tragic accident during the race lead to the death of Ayrton Senna. On the 7th lap of the race, Senna’s car left the racing line off the track at Tamburello at 196 miles per hour (309 km/h), and while attempting to break hard, slammed into the wall of an unprotected concrete barrier. The crash resulted in several devasting injuries to his head and despite the best efforts of the medical personnel at the race, Senna’s heart had stopped beating. The doctors at the hospital he had been taken to were able to restart his heart, and Senna was temporarily placed on a life support machine while his family could arrange for a priest to perform the last rites.
In a tragic twist of fate, it was later revealed that Senna had planned to unfurl an Austrian flag he had hidden in the car’s cockpit to honor the death of fellow driver Roland Ratzenberger, who had died in qualifying the day before.
The Brazilian government declared three days of national mourning as his body was flown back to his home country for a state funeral. On the streets of his hometown of Sau Paulo, over three million people lined the streets to pay their respects to their hero.
The tragic weekend that resulted in the deaths of two drivers and saw several dangerous collisions resulted in much-needed safety improvements from the FIA, F1’s governing body. Every year since, further efforts are made to improve the safety of drivers.
Who are the cast members of Senna?
In March 2023, Netflix announced the first new cast member for Senna in the form of Gabriel Leone.
Following the announcement of his casting, Leone released a statement via Netflix’s media site saying:
“It is a huge responsibility and also a great honor to be able to represent an icon who inspired so many people throughout his life, showing the world Brazilian sporting talent,” says Leone. “Knowing that we will bring this story to millions of people in so many countries, through Netflix, inspires me to see this as one of the great roles of my career.”
Leone is well known throughout Latin America for roles in titles such as Dom, Duetto, Dark Days, and Velho chico.
Charlie Hamblett has been confirmed to be playing Martin Brundle, one of Ayrton Senna’s teammates and competitor in Formula 3.
Alice Wegmann has been cast as Senna’s first wife, Liliane Vasconcellos Souza, which has been confirmed by the Brazilian news site O Globo. The news outlet also reports that Camila Márdila has been cast as Eyrton’s sister, Viviane Senna.
On July 6th, Deadline confirmed that Kaya Scodelario had joined the cast of Senna. However, her role in the series has yet to be revealed. Scodelario previously starred in Netflix’s short-lived ice skating drama, Spinning Out, and she will also star in The Gentlemen, Guy Ritche’s upcoming TV adaptation of the 2019 film.
Also joining the cast of Senna are Tom McKay and Joe Hurst. This will be the first Netflix project for McKay, who previously starred in the BBC series Moving On, and Hulu’s Black Cake. Meanwhile, Hurst has already starred in Netflix shows such as The Dig, the BBC/Netflix co-production Wanderlust.
What is the episode count for Netflix’s Senna?
Initially, the series was set to consist of a total of eight episodes but was later announced to have been reduced to six. One Brazillian source still states it’s eight as of September 2023, however.
Each episode will have an approximate runtime of 60 minutes.
What language will Senna be filmed in?
We can confirm that Senna will be multilingual and filmed in Brazilian Portuguese and English.
What is the production status of Senna?
Senna got underway with production in the Summer of 2023, with filming initially scheduled to take place between June and September 2023.
Numerous reports from Brazil spotted the production, including Curva1Kart reporting that some filming was taking place at the Kartódromo de la Autovía 2 in São Paulo, with additional filming also taking place at the karting track near the Juan Manuel Fangio racetrack in Balcarce in Argentina.
Given the story of Senna’s life, filming ultimately occured in various locations across Brazil and potentially even the UK. Filming could also occur in various locations worldwide where the circuits Senna had raced in Formula 1.
— Radio Brisas (@RADIOBRISAS) August 24, 2023
— Radio Gabal (@RadioGabal) September 25, 2023
When is the Senna Netflix release date?
In late September 2023, Elizabetta Zenatti, vice president of content at Netflix Brazil, told numerous outlets while announcing continued investment in Brazillian content that Senna would be releasing on Netflix in 2024.
Are you looking forward to watching Senna on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below!