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30 years since the death of Ayrton Senna: the driver has left a legacy in the world of sport

On May 1, 1994, exactly 30 years ago, Formula 1 star Ayrton Senna died at the San Marino GP in Imola.

On May 1, 1994, exactly 26 years ago, Formula 1 star Ayrton Senna died during the San Marino GP in Imola. On the seventh lap of the race, the Brazilian failed to turn, lost control and crashed into the wall at a speed of over 200 km/h. Emergency services were called immediately and the Brazilian showed no reaction, which worried all sports lovers. Then, he was taken to the hospital.

All doctors did everything possible to prevent it, but to no avail. The pilot’s vital functions and heartbeat stopped at 1.40 pm (Brasilia time), at the Maggiore Hospital in Bologna. Senna died at the age of 34.

According to reports, Ayrton Senna I didn’t feel comfortable running. This is because the GP weekend, held on the Imola circuit, was already fraught due to the serious accident of Rubens Barrichello, in training on Friday, and the death of the Austrian Roland Ratzenberger, on Saturday. Sunday 1 May was Senna’s turn.

Meanwhile in Brazil, the President of the Republic, Itamar Franco, had already said he was following the development of the case “with sadness and desolation”. Senna’s body was transferred to the Bologna Medical Institute for an autopsy.

Ayrton Senna’s body was taken to Brazil in business class on a flight from Paris to Sao Paulo. With the curtains closed, only the crew knew that the pilot’s coffin was on board the plane and none of the passengers were informed, to avoid a commotion. Other planes that were in the air at the time and who had been informed of the transport of the pilot’s body, passed by the plane flashing their lights and some crews sent messages.

Between the procession of the coffin with the pilot’s body from Guarulhos airport to the Legislative Assembly, the wake, which lasted about 24 hours, and the final procession from the Assembly to the Morumbi Cemetery, approximately two million people were present.

Shock when you take off your helmet

Doctor Giovanni Gordini, who provided assistance on the runway and in the helicopter, became emotional and described in his moment of anguish what he had experienced in that last hour. The excerpts were taken from Senna’s special article, from “ge”.

– Before we even took off our helmet, we were struck by the amount of blood the pilot was losing. An artery had certainly been hit and my first concern was, once Senna’s head was exposed, to try to stop the bleeding,” he said.

The person who led the complex removal of the helmet was F1 doctor Dr Sid Watkins.

– But as soon as we had access to his head, without helmet and balaclava, I understood that Senna would not survive. We saw that the skull base was open and was losing the cephalic mass, the brain, due to the cut more than a centimeter wide that ran behind the ears, from one side of the head to the other. For me he had hit his head against the wall of the Tamburello curve, at high speed. This explains the generalized trauma to the skull.


The last time the Italian judicial system ruled on the case was on 13 April 2007, when the European country’s Supreme Court limited itself to confirming a previous decision, holding only one person responsible for the tragedy. His name is Patrick Head, former partner and co-founder of Williams, the team for which Senna raced in his last season in F1.

The 77-year-old British engineer was convicted of manslaughter, but did not serve his sentence because the case had expired. According to Italian law, the statute of limitations for this type of crime is seven years and six months. But 13 years had already passed since the fatal accident. Experienced in F1, Head was believed to be Williams’ technical director at the time.

The case began to be processed in December 1997, three years after the accident. Six people have been charged with manslaughter without intent to kill. In addition to Head, the list included team founder Frank Williams himself; engineer Adrian Newey; Roland Bruynseraede, safety inspector at the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA); and Federico Bendinelli, partner of the company that managed the Ímola Circuit.

Everyone was cleaned up. Dissatisfied with the decisions, the European country’s Prosecutor’s Office turned to the Supreme Court and, in May 2005, the court accused Head of negligence in changing the steering column of Senna’s Williams, which was inconvenient. The British team appealed, but two years later the court upheld the decision, without acquitting Head.

The passion for F1

Born in the capital of São Paulo, in the Santana neighborhood, Ayrton developed his passion for speed at the age of four, when he started racing karts. What initially was a joke became a serious dedication at the age of thirteen, when he began participating in official competitions of the sport.

At 21, Senna left for Europe. In 1981, he secured the British Formula Ford 1600 championship title, winning 12 out of 20 races. He then won the British Formula 3 championship, considered the final step before Formula 1.

At just 24 years old, Senna began his journey in Formula 1. In a decade, he accumulated 41 victories and three world titles – in 1988, 1990 and 1991 -, all with the McLaren team, consolidating himself as one of the greatest drivers in the world. Formula 1 .


Senna also boasts some records that still stand today: the three-time world champion is the leader in consecutive front rows in F1 (24 between 1988 and 1989) and is the leader, together with Hamilton, in the number of victories from start to finish (19) and pole position on the same circuit (8 in San Marino).

The Brazilian still holds the record for consecutive victories on the same track: 5 in Monaco (between 1989 and 1993). The Brazilian is still considered the “King of Monaco” for having achieved 6 victories in the Principality, a record that still persists today. Furthermore, he was the only Brazilian to win in Monte Carlo.


Three-time Formula 1 world champion Ayrton Senna will be honored this Wednesday (1st), the day his death will be 30 years old, in different parts of the world.

This week in Brazil and various parts of the world, Senna will receive tributes. On Wednesday 1st, Interlagos welcomes around 10 thousand people for the Ayrton Senna Racing Day, a hiking event, in which other tributes will be paid. During the Miami GP this weekend, artist Eduardo Kobra will unveil a mural of Senna in the Formula 1 host city. In Turin, Italy, there is an exhibition of the drivers’ cars and equipment.

Furthermore, Netflix has released the first trailer for the miniseries on the life of Ayrton Senna. “Senna” will be fictional and will tell the story of the journey on the tracks, the personality and personal relationships of the three-time Formula 1 world champion driver.

Source: Terra

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