As someone who is passionate about Formula One and who was absolutely devasted after witnessing the events of this tragic weekend, I have uploaded these videos as a tribute to Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger.
At the San Marino Grand Prix, Barrichello’s career nearly ended when he suffered a violent crash during Friday practice. His car hit the wall in Variante Bassa, turning him upside down. This accident knocked him unconscious and threatened his life, with his tongue blocking his airway. Quick action by officials ensured survival.
Barrichello was relatively fortunate, however. Twenty minutes into Saturday’s final qualifying session, Roland Ratzenberger died when he crashed his Simtek at the curva Villeneuve; during the race, his mentor Ayrton Senna crashed his Williams at Tamburello and also died. Despite this deep personal loss, Barrichello recovered his confidence and raced strongly, having good races and taking pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix, and leading some laps at Estoril. His pole position at Spa-Francorchamps set the record for the youngest driver to secure pole position at that time. He concluded the season with fourth place in Adelaide. He finished the season sixth overall in the Drivers’ Championship with 19 points, outscoring Irvine, who scored six.
These videos clearly show how dangerous this circuit once was and also how the Marshalls and Paramedics used to treat drivers immediately after an accident. At the start of the year the FIA had banned certain driver aids and the sport literally became more dangerous as a result.
Senna himself had predicted major accidents and can be seen here investigating how Barrichello is after his accident and commandeering the Safety Car to drive down to the Villeneuve corner to see where Ratzenberger went off the circuit.
It is a testimony to how advanced Formula One and Motorsport (in general) has now evolved in terms of safety and post-accident driver care.
For the true Ayrton Senna fans, it’s a last chance to see him flying around a track at top speed on his way to his 65th and last ever Pole Position. We can only guess how he would have developed the Williams FW-16 that year and wonder what could have been.
Please be respectful but feel free to leave comments.
Rest in Peace – Ayrton and Roland
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