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Senna in '94

Discussion in 'F1' started by PSk, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    I've just read an article that covered the first proper time Prost has opened up about Senna in an interview ... and especially 1994.

    To me this article opened up what made Senna tick and convinces me that Senna made a mistake at Imola ...

    Why do I say that?

    Prost stated that Senna called him many times during the 1994 season and he was DOWN. The car was not working and Senna basically missed the rivally with Prost. Prost and Senna actually spoke a lot that fateful day, and Prost believes that Senna's motivation was not there.

    I quit motor racing after blowing up my race car engine one too many times. Part of the reason was cost, but a bigger part was that my motivation had dipped. I found myself thinking of other things while testing ... and I even had a spin because my mind was not on the job, and I blame this lack of concentration on the engine blow up because I missed a gear.

    I seriously believe every racing driver should quit IMMEDIATELY they feel this motivation issue, because if you are not 150% in to your job (of driving) then you are risking possibly big injury ... and in Sennas case death.

    I have read this many times, and most drivers (especially F1 drivers) help the other drivers retire if they start talking about motivation ... especially in the dangerous 60's!

    I now believe that Senna went to the all conquering Williams team, expecting a walk over. The team dynamics were not quite right, and he was ready for retirement. Yes he was still fast and getting poles, but the magic was diming.

    Senna talked with Prost a lot about safety (and he also talked to Berger too about this) and these sort of discussions usually happen when a driver is starting to feel mortal. Senna out of all of them was never afraid of the dangers ... but now he was very much thinking about it.

    My conclusion is, that Senna through pride, etc. stayed one to many seasons long in F1, and it was pride that was pushing that car not the motivated passionate skill that was so Senna.

    The car stepped out on cold tires and the usual masterful Senna was not there ... :(

    I truly believe after reading that article/interview with Prost that he would have retired either after that race (because of Rolands death) or at the end of this swanson season.

    Pete
     
  2. Senna1994

    Senna1994 F1 World Champ

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    Pete, I think Senna definately felt terrible that weekend in Imola after Barichello's accident first and than Ratzenberger's. However, I don't think what Alain said necessarily mean't Sennas motivation was down for the season. The only team and car he had a problem with from the start of the Season was the Benetton, and at Aida when he was speaking to Peter Collins the Lotus Team Manager, Collins insinuated that Benetton sounded like it had something extra on it, by the way, Eddie Irvine witnessing the Williams and the Benetton made the same comment after the Brazilian race. Remember Alain was gone in 92 as well and that didn't make Senna lose his motivation.

    I think he clearly felt that Alain was his yardstick, but I feel that had he not died he would have done fine that season and even better in 95 once he was adjusted to the Williams team after six years at McLaren. In addition, the 95 Williams was once again a terrific car, unfortunately for Williams they had Hill and Coulthard.
     
  3. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    I did, because he talked about many calls fromt he begining of the season.

    Even without the accidents of that weekend, I believe Senna would have been down thanks to the no points so far. He is a racer and would have been pissed.

    ... I could have read too much in to the article ;) ... often do :D

    Pete
     
  4. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Senna1994,

    I've had another thought about Senna being down that year at Williams.

    You quite rightly point out that Senna did not miss Prost in '92 ... but he was at McLaren then and Ron is fantastic at looking after his drivers and keeping them motivated. Probably organised special events to keep Senna mentally good, etc. Frank Williams is close to an arseh0le to his drivers and would not have supported Senna one bit in '94.

    It would have not been the lovely dovy environment that Ron would have created to keep Senna happy. Senna would have been a high maintenance person that would have needed a lot of ego massaging, and Frank would not be interested in that stuff ... more fool him, Ron does whatever it takes to make them win.

    I think this is another reason why RB will never win a WC (and Ron Dennis is not interested ;)), because he appears to need a lot of ego coaching ... MS does not. Stewart talks of this with RB when he drove for him, and Stewart is very good and helping drivers.

    Pete
     
  5. Senna1994

    Senna1994 F1 World Champ

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    Pete, Williams is definately an interesting team when it comes to drivers to say the least. They let go of Piquet, Mansell, Prost, and Hill after they won championships there. However, Ayrton was quite good friends with Frank Williams for at least 10 years. I agree Ayrton missed McLaren, but look how well Alain fit in at Williams in 93. I agree that Ayrton was pissed about the no points situation, but he had himself to blame in Brazil, he pushed so hard that he brought the gap to Schumacher down from 9 seconds to 5 seconds before he spun. At Aida he got nailed on the first corner of the first lap thanks to Hakkinen. So he definately wanted to put the points up in Imola.

    Imola was a power track and the Renault V10 had the legs on anything there, as can also be seen by Berger leading for a bit. Everyone keeps saying he had cold tires, but my problem with that theory is that on lap 6 he set a blazing lap. Well we will never know what could have happened.
     
  6. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Alain was a team builder and a car developer. For all Senna's talent he was not car developer at Alain's level. Alain developed that McLaren when they were driving partners NOT Senna. Infact Ron used to send him home to Brazil (again looking after him) and Alain (apparently) did the pre-season testing.

    While Alain did get sacked from Ferrari he did make that car fast and a title challenger. Ferrari were fncken idiots to sack him and should have eaten humble pie and actually listened to the man ... and we would have not waited another 8 years for the WC to return.


    Interesting and does appear to refute the cold tires theory. IMO though (and from my own person racing experience, and from motivation dipping experience) Senna was lacking motivation and thus was not concentrating 100% and the car flicked out on the bumps ... as F1 cars do, and the usual Senna was not there and he lost it. To control racing cars at 100% you really, really need to be 100% into what you are doing ... if not it is extremely dangerous.

    Pete
     
  7. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    I was and am to this day a devout Senna fan. From the time of his death I have heard literally dozens of theories on his death. Some more believable than others and some totally absurd. I truly believe that if you analize and pick apart a situation enough you can find justification for just about any theory. Whether it was the car or the driver is of little consequence. Motor racing is by its nature very dangerous. On that day in May of 94 the perils of motor racing got the better of Senna and people just can't seem to let go that Senna died doing an activity that he chose to do and I say bravo to him.

    Every time I personally step into a race car I am aware that I am choosing to partake in an activity that I may not emerge from. While I do not wish death upon myself I am aware that that is one of the players and I respect it. Motor racing would loose a lot for me if this variable were gone for it makes achievment in that field all the more enjoyable. I believe Senna to have been of the same mentality and it is this thought that gives me closure in his death. I figure that I will have opened a pandora's box for argument but I think that it is for me a pretty simple equation:

    In participating in motor racing you may die. If you are not ready to accept that risk, go do something else.
     
  8. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Latest copy of Forza (just came out) has a great one page editorial from Frankl about Senna and his true legacy. Worth reading and worth keeping.

    Also the current issue of RACER has a tribute to the man.
     
  9. ross

    ross Two Time F1 World Champ
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    senna was a temperamental person and very sensitive to perceived pressures and slights. i would not be surprised at all that he was in someway distracted or distraught by the events of the weekend.

    the thing that is sometimes forgotten in all this is that his death was somewhat of a fluke in that the thing that killed him was the tierod thru the head. whereas the rest of the car performed as per the spec and was intact. so had that tierod been 2 inches either side of where it went it would have glanced off and he would be alive today.
     
  10. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Yes it was a bizarre accident, however I'm not sure about the outcome even if that suspension hadn't gone where it did: The car was more or less intact, but the deceleration forces were brutal. No tire barriers or anything, so it is questionable how well Senna would have been after that.

    It might have been like the accidents of Bellof and Winkelhock at Eau Rouge: Not killed by anything impacting their bodies, but by the sheer deceleration forces. Your arteries burst and your brain gets squeezed against the skull. Neither survivable.

    As Frankl puts it bluntly in Forza: Without Senna's accident, Schumacher wouldn't have gotten off easy at Stowe in 99. Those tires saved his life (as they saved Button's or Burti's) along with the stronger monocoques of course. Senna had only concrete. His death changed all that.
     
  11. Senna1994

    Senna1994 F1 World Champ

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  12. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    All you Senna fans, do yourself a favor and get the June edition of RACER.

    The Senna tribute is really worth reading and it lists his life with all his accomplishments and all the cars he ever drove. I'm not a Senna fan, but this is good stuff and if I were I'd put that into my permanent collection.
     
  13. Ferrari_co_uk

    Ferrari_co_uk Karting

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    I believe he would have walked away from the crash had it not been for the suspension. The speed on impact with the barrier was, I believe, 135 mph. And it wasn't a 'head-on' smash so the car didn't stop immediately. Also he didn't have a single broken bone in his body.

    Best,
    Mark
     
  14. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    I too think he would have jumped out, a little dazed, but fine.
     
  15. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    #15 62 250 GTO, May 6, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  16. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

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    Wow. I've never seen those helmet photos before. Pretty sobering.
     
  17. Admiral Thrawn

    Admiral Thrawn F1 Rookie

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    Sorry to dig up an old thread but I wanted to make a few comments with regards to those pics above.

    Firstly, in the far left pic, you can see the hole (in between the two yellow arrows) where a piece of suspension pierced the visor, entering Senna's head just above the right eyebrow. The hole in the upper section of the helmet is actually a vent which has had its plug blown out in the crash.

    In the second pic, you can see the blood-stained inner foam lining of the helmet, and also significant deformation of the helmet itself. I read this was due to the tyre striking Senna's head along with the suspension.

    Lastly, I read that he sustained severe injuries to the base of his skull, possibly due to a combination of tyre impact and decelerative forces of the crash itself. Anyway, these are the precise injuries that the HANS system now protects against.
     
  18. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

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    Except for piercing the visor, that is. Pretty interesting--I actually didn't realize that the hole in the helmet was from the vent until you mentioned it. Tragic.
     
  19. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Hopefully the stronger tethers will help prevent this from happening again. But then again, freak accidents can always happen.
     
  20. JMOrem

    JMOrem Formula Junior

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    I have never seen this X-ray image posted by Admiral Thrawn. Looking to the skull, there seems to be significant trauma to the forehead where the suspension entered. Is this correct, or is this damage a blunt force type injury? Towards the back of the skull there is something protruding out of the skull. Is this the suspension piece?
     
  21. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    I doubt that image is for real. Would be terribly gruesome if it were.
     
  22. imperial83

    imperial83 F1 Rookie
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    I have never said this in public before and I think I can only say this on the forum due to my anonymity here... I have viewed that race many times and replayed that fatal accident probably thousands of time... I am pretty sure it was driver error on part of Senna that caused the accident. I am not a world authority nor do my expertise come close to many others that have analyzed the incedent. But to me it is clear that Senna lost control of the car. The fact that safety equipment was not up to standard and the car was was not safe enough to withstand that impact to the head and neck did not help either.

    I am truely sorry if I have come across as a jerk but I have a great deal of respect for Senna as a human being and his driving abilities. I just think it was one human driver error that cost him his life and cost us F1 fans probably the best rivalries years in F1 to come... M. Schumacher Vs. Senna.
     
  23. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    What did he do wrong? Just asking, not being an a$$.
     
  24. imperial83

    imperial83 F1 Rookie
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    Well to me it looks as if Michael Schumacher was pushing Senna hard enough that Senna had just put in a very fast lap. Then on that particular turn Senna was pushing hard. If you look at the footage you can see that (or atleast it looks to me) that Senna had a lapse in concentration, he did not turn the steering wheel to turn left. It was as if going at such a high speed he phased out and did not turn in time. His wheels only turn after he hits the gravel / sand. I just think it was driver error in the form of lapse in concentration. Going at that speed it can and as proved to be was unfortunately fatal. He sustained head injuries as a result of the steering wheel breaking and injuring his forehead. Also he had injuries to his neck and head I belive.

    Please I once again apologize if I am out of line with my comments. I am in no way saying MS was at fault or caused the accident. I in no way stating that Senna was not a great driver with great driving abilities. I am convinced that on this one fatal turn he made a driving error and had a lapse in concentration.

    there are several theories that exist... stating about the cold tires... about the car mechanics failing. Everyone will have their own way of explaining and coming to terms with the loss. But I am sure as I can be... to me the answer to the loss of F1 and the world boils down to a lapse in driver concentration. Senna was pushing hard into the turn, he suffered from a small lapse in concentration, the car then goes on to the gravel at a high speed, Senna realizes this tries to steer to the left (this is the first tme you see the wheels change direction), but unfortunately it was too late.
     
  25. 328Matt

    328Matt Karting

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    As i understand it, the car was not handling well all weekend.He cancelled a session with journalists after getting pole to talk to his engineers.We know he spoke to Frank Williams that night and that his girlfriend said he was in better spirits.There was something about his demeanor that weekend and a lot of people put a great gravity on his state of mind.However let us not forget that the safety car was not going fast enough-his tyres lost temperature hence pressure and his car already running low was now grounding.Something Schumacher in the following Benetton noticed.I do not think that possibly the greatest natural driver ever made a mistake-i think it was a tragic build up of events.Senna was and still is my hero and i cannot accept he is at fault.Something i only found out this week was that he had the Austrian flag in the cockpit of the Williams-he would have dedicated his win to Ratzenberger.Just my opinion.
     

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