Senna’s 1988 title anniversary: In reality and “Tooned” (VIDEO)


This Wednesday, October 30, marks one of Formula One’s most memorable anniversaries: 25 years since the late Ayrton Senna captured his first of three World Championships.

Senna’s win at the Japanese Grand Prix was the cap-off to the all-conquering McLaren MP4/4 Honda season, where the team took 15 of 16 race wins in 1988 with what is widely considered one of the best cars of all-time. The above video clip is featured very prominently in “Senna,” the award-winning documentary.

Senna took eight wins to Alain Prost’s seven in the single harmonious year between the teammates, before their working relationship came unglued at the seams in 1989.

Interestingly, Prost actually out-pointed Senna in 1988, 105 to 94 if all points-scoring results were counted. But as only the best 11 were registered, Senna’s win advantage trumped Prost’s point advantage. The final season tally was Senna 90, Prost 87 after Prost’s win in the season-ending Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide, once the 11 best results were tabulated.

Both drivers have also had their place in McLaren’s brilliant animated “Tooned” cartoon series of late. The one featuring Senna was just released this past weekend during the Indian Grand Prix, with nephew Bruno Senna voicing Ayrton in the piece.

We figure it wouldn’t be appropriate to include just Senna’s “Tooned” piece without also including Prost’s, so both are below. Debate among yourselves in the comments if, as one commenter suggested on YouTube, McLaren’s “Tooned” creators should have rolled Senna and Prost into a single episode.



IndyCar Power Rankings: Pato O’Ward moves to the top entering Texas Motor Speedway


The NBC Sports IndyCar power rankings naturally were as jumbled as the action on the streets of St. Petersburg after a chaotic opener to the 2023 season.

Pato O’Ward, who finished second because of an engine blip that cost him the lead with a few laps remaining, moves into the top spot ahead of St. Pete winner Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi, who finished fourth in his Arrow McLaren debut. Scott Dixon and St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who led 31 laps) rounded out the top five.

St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who started first at St. Pete after capturing his second career pole position) Callum Ilott (a career-best fifth) and Graham Rahal entered the power rankings entering the season’s second race.

Three drivers fell out of the preseason top 10 after the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – including previously top-ranked Josef Newgarden, who finished 17th after qualifying 14th.

Heading into Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, here’s NBC Sports’ assessment of the current top 10 drivers through the first of 17 races this year (with previous preseason rankings in parenthesis):

NBC Sports’ IndyCar Power Rankings

1. Pato O’Ward (5) – If not for the dreaded “plenum event” in the No. 5 Chevrolet, the Arrow McLaren driver is opening the season with a victory capping a strong race weekend.

2. Marcus Ericsson (7) – He might be the most opportunistic driver in IndyCar, but that’s because the 2022 Indy 500 winner has become one of the series’ fastest and most consistent stars.

3. Alexander Rossi (10) – He overcame a frustrating Friday and mediocre qualifying to open his Arrow McLaren career with the sort of hard-earned top five missing in his last years at Andretti.

4. Scott Dixon (3) – Put aside his opening-lap skirmish with former teammate Felix Rosenqvist, and it was a typically stealthily good result for the six-time champion.

5. Romain Grosjean (NR) – The St. Petersburg pole-sitter consistently was fastest on the streets of St. Petersburg over the course of the race weekend, which he couldn’t say once last year.

6. Scott McLaughlin (6) – Easily the best of the Team Penske drivers before his crash with Grosjean, McLaughlin drove like a legitimate 2023 championship contender.

7. Callum Ilott (NR) – A quietly impressive top five for the confident Brit in Juncos Hollinger Racing’s first race as a two-car team. Texas will be a big oval litmus test.

8. Graham Rahal (NR) – Sixth at St. Pete, Rahal still has the goods on street courses, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan remains headed in the right direction.

9. Alex Palou (4) – He seemed a step behind Ericsson and Dixon in the race after just missing the Fast Six in qualifying, but this was a solid start for Palou.

10. Will Power (2) – An uncharacteristic mistake that crashed Colton Herta put a blemish on the type of steady weekend that helped him win the 2022 title.

Falling out (last week): Josef Newgarden (1), Colton Herta (8), Christian Lundgaard (9)