In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says his combative driving style was influenced by watching Ayrton Senna.
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“People say I have an aggressive style and sometimes I don’t think that is all just me. I think it’s partly because I watched Ayrton Senna when I was young and I thought: ‘This is how I want to drive when I get the opportunity.’ And I went out there and tried it on the kart track. And my whole approach the racing has developed from there.”
Bruno Senna: “It’s fair to assume that Ayrton would have won more world championships, because his Williams car was very competitive for the next few years. Unless something extraordinary had happened, he would have been at the top of the game.”
Fernando Alonso: “The only positive thing to come out of the weekend that took Ayrton and Roland Ratzenberger away from us was that, from then on, safety in Formula One improved significantly. In fact, we can say that inside our cars there is something of the legacy of Senna and Raztzenberger, because after that terrible 1994, nothing was ever the same again.”
Romain Grosjean:”They [the rulemakers] changed tyres, aerodynamics and power unit and we kept the direction we had last year, which was very good with E21 but didn’t quite work with the E22.”
Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer Dato’ Razlan Razali: “We have been given the green light from the government to begin negotiation with F1 management, so we are doing that right now. We have a big meeting coming up in Barcelona to discuss this.”
“While the safety bar had been significantly raised by the early 1990s, it was the tragic events at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, which led to the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger in qualifying and then the loss of racing legend Aytron Senna the following day, that sparked a new and more intense focus on safety research and it is these improvements that perhaps represent the greatest legacy of Senna and Ratzenberger.”
I discussed the death of Ayrton Senna in a programme on this programme yesterday morning. You can find the interview at 2hr 54’42.
Daniel Ricciardo: “When I started racing go-karts my dad would always bring him up when it was raining saying, ‘this is your chance to be like Senna, be that rain-master, be that kid’, so that’s what I remember of him – being untouchable in wet conditions where that was the most pure form of driver skill.”
“If Roland Ratzenberger’s appalling accident stirred subliminal concern, the death of an icon 24 hours later would send 5,000 volts through the system.”
“He said the worst thing about his profession was having to put up with people he disliked. One of the most prominent on his hate list was FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre whom Ayrton felt was ridiculously biased against him and favoured [Alain] Prost.”
“36 others have died while competing in the Formula One world championship, and few will ever have so many column inches dedicated to them as either Senna or Ratzenberger. But we should remember them all. Because we need to avoid there being a 39th.”
— F1 Fanatic (@f1fanatic_co_uk) May 1, 2014
Imola…. Roland Ratzenberger, Ayrton Senna, and that sad and terrible GP 20 years ago. Current safety in F1 is also their legacy #heroes
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) May 1, 2014
— Jerome D'Ambrosio (@thereal_JDA) May 1, 2014
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Comment of the day
Many original, heartfelt memories of the traumas of 1994 have been shared here in the past few days. Here’s @SennaNmbr1’s recollection of the San Marino Grand Prix:
Such a sad day. I was 14 and after years of being a Mansell fan all my life, 1993 and his departure to IndyCar forced me to refocus. And Senna’s amazing displays in 1993 stunned me and I was a proper fan. So 1994 and Senna in a Williams was going to be THE year. And due to his points deficit to Schumacher the Imola race was pivotal.
So pivotal that I was lying on my front a couple of feet from the TV for the start of the race. Senna crashed and I was gutted because my new hero was out of the race – but not out of the car. I turned to my dad, an ex kart racer, who had seen fatal crashes over the years. I asked him why he hadn’t got out of the car. “Just unconscious?” The reply came “This is serious. He might be dead.”
Yes, despite hearing about Roland Ratzenberger the previous day the thought simply did not enter my head that Senna would be seriously hurt or even dead. He was just knocked out and would be OK. But as the race unfolded and Steve Rider said he had grave head injures the unthinkable was actually true.
After the race finished I tried to occupy myself, so I played swingball in the garden for the rest of the afternoon. Occasionally I would come in to look at the TV for news updates (no internet in 1994 remember,) until the worst news was confirmed.
I recorded all the grands prix on tape in those days, but I quickly taped over that one with something else because I couldn’t bear to watch it again or even have it as a record.
An unforgettable day and weekend.
From the forum
- The new version of the Indianapolis road circuit wich IndyCar will use this year looks like an improvement on the one F1 visited between 2000 and 2007
Happy birthday to Adam Kibbey!
On this day in F1
The news of Senna’s death dominated the covers of most British newspapers on this day 20 years ago, as it was in many other countries around the world.
The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Mail, The Express, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and the (now-defunct) Today all carried images of the crash on their front pages. “Ayrton Senna dies after 190mph crash” read the front of The Times. “Death of a Champion”, others announced.
Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo