#2- Ayrton Senna’s 1994 Crash At Imola
No other crash in racing history was more tragic and heartbreaking then Ayrton Senna crashing at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. By the time he died, the 34-year-old Formula 1 ace had already racked up 3 driver championships that included 41 wins and 80 podiums. The 1994 San Marino Grand Prix ended up being his last race.
The day before, Roland Ratzenberfer of MTV Simtek Ford passed away during qualifying. A damaged front wing on a qualifying lap usually meant he would have to be called into the pits. But rather than boxing, Ratzenberger pushed on. Coming into a high-speed straight, he broke off the damaged wing and failed to turn into Villeneuve Corner striking the wall at 195 MPH and dying before arriving at the hospital. The race was still on for the next day.
Seven laps into the race, Ayrton Senna left the racing line at Tamburello corner at 190 MPH, ran in a straight line off the track and into an unprotected concrete barrier. Although the telemetry showed he braked, he was only able to get his car down to 130 MPH. The right front wheel shot up and made contact with his front helmet. In addition a piece of suspension attached to the wheel gouged into his helmet causing head trauma. And finally, a piece of upright assembly penetrated his visor above his eyes.
Senna later succumbed to head trauma hours later in hospital care.
More than 3 million Brazilians attended his funeral with dozens of F1 drivers among them.
Following shortly after his death, numerous changes were made to certain Grand Prix’s as well as regulations on fences, barriers, and engine power.
Next: #1- 1955 Le Mans Disaster