Despite not having been one of the most acclaimed motorists in Formula 1, Ayrton Senna is considered one of the greatest elite drivers in motorsports and, furthermore, he is one of the most fanatic in the world.
Apart from his three world championships, the Brazilian was a born sprinter who, with his passionate driving style and daring manoeuvres, captivated the public and earned the respect of his rivals on the track.
Undoubtedly, the tragic accident that ended his life on May 1, 1994, when he crashed his single-seater into a wall at the Enzo y Dino Ferrari Autodrome, while the Grand Prix of San Marino, in the Italian city of Imola.
Ayrton Senna: his fast, passionate and risky driving style
Fast, risky and passionate. Those three adjectives can perfectly describe Senna’s driving style, which captivated not only Brazilians, but fans around the world. With those attributes, he achieved incredible records in the qualifying tests and left memorable performances in the rain.
Precisely, his debut in Formula 1, at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, was in torrential rain. Aboard his humble Toleman, he started from thirteenth position and managed to move up to second place behind Alain Prost. When he was about to pass it, the authorities suspended the race due to bad weather conditions. Although he did not achieve victory, he showed the enormous potential of him.
His great results would mean that, four years later, he shared a team with the French driver at McLaren. There began the Senna-Prost rivalry, one of the most iconic in history. On the one hand, “The Professor”, a strategic, calculating and highly technical pilot; on the other, “Magic Senna”, risky, fast and passionate.
Each with their own winning formula, they managed to remain at the top of the motorsport elite for years, to the point of sharing seven of the nine world championships between 1985 and 1993. Prost was crowned in 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993, while that Senna did in 1988, 1990 and 1991.
How was the fatal accident
On Sunday, May 1, 1994, one of the most remembered tragedies in the history of sport and, more precisely, of Formula 1 took place. As a result of a strong impact against a concrete wall at more than 200 kilometers per hour, Brazilian pilot Ayrton Senna lost his life.
In his car FW16 of the Williams team, he carried the Austrian flag. It is that, in case of winning the race, he planned to pay tribute to Roland Ratzenberger, who had died the day before, in the qualifying test, after suffering a broken front wing and crashing at the Villeneuve curve.
Precisely, the tragedy of the Austrian made Senna upset and express his concern for the safety of the runners, to the point of seriously considering the possibility of not running the next day. However, he finally decided to do it.
The fatal accident occurred on the seventh lap. He entered the Tamburello corner at 309 km/h and, when he realized that it would be impossible to maintain control of the vehicle, he slowed down as much as he could to reduce the impact, which was 209 km/h. (Ambit)
Medical personnel rushed to the scene and managed to get Senna out of the car. He just moved his head after 57 seconds, although he did not do it again, as can be seen in the images captured by a helicopter that flew over the area.
According to judicial reports, the detached tire hit the Brazilian’s helmet and caused his head to hit the monoposto’s headrest, which would have caused skull fractures. In addition, a suspension element that was attached to the steering wheel penetrated the hull.