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Take this day to remember: Imola, May 1st.

Illustration for article titled Take this day to remember: Imola, May 1st.

We lost Senna today.

This was the first year of the active suspension ban. The Williams was designed for active components but had to swap them out. It was then a wicked car, instantly transitioning from oversteer to understeer or oversteer to understeer without a hesitation. Engineering had improved it somewhat by Imola, but it was still difficult to manage.


1994 San Marino Grand Prix: Friday, Barrichello crashed hard and Senna stopped to check on him finding Rubens had swallowed his tongue. Dr. Watkins went to work and saved him. Saturday, Ratzenberger crashed while desperately trying to make the final position in the grid with a broken front wing. He went off in a high-speed section when the wing finally failed from aero loading and he died. Ayrton Senna, and the drivers, that night decided to form the Grand Prix Drivers Association, to promote and manage safety in their races. F1 was no longer hacking it in that regard. Lauda suggested Senna take the role of GPDA leadership. Senna agreed.

If anyone put their talent completely on the line and over it, 1994 and this evil car was proof and left no doubt who the greatest driver ever was. Watching him struggle with the dancing car was something special. A total master who out-qualified his teammate Damon Hill by 1.7 seconds and No.2 qualifier Schumacher by over half a second. His car broke at 190+ mph, and he managed to slow down to 130 mph before hitting an unprotected concrete wall on the outside of the turn. Three head trauma injuries were the culprit, fractures from the right-front tire to his helmet, puncture to the helmet from both suspension parts, and the upright the tire was attached to. Skull fractures and Loss of blood. He had no chance after that crash.


Ratzenberger died yesterday in 1994. Senna would lose his life today, all twenty-six years ago.

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