Today in 1994 Rubens Barrichello survived his horrific crash at the San Marino Grand Prix. It was the start of one of Formula One’s darkest weekends, writes Keith Collantine over at F1 Fanatic.
On Thursday 1 May we will launch our story Senna versus Schumacher. It features Barrichello’s crash, as well as Roland Ratzenberger’s and Ayrton Senna’s… but Senna survives his accident to battle Michael Schumacher for Formula One supremacy.
Yes, the Senna versus Schumacher story is now finished. I will re-read the entire story once or twice over the next few days and fix any mistakes or make minor changes where necessary.
Here’s the final excerpt from the story.
On lap 25, Senna was almost forty seconds ahead of second-placed Hill. On the Kemmel straight, Senna was nearing Schumacher, who was running eighth and over two minutes behind the leader. Coming out of the Rivage corner, turning left onto the short straight towards the fast left-hander Pouhon, Senna wanted to pass. He’ll move from the racing line to allow me through, Senna thought. But Schumacher thought: I’ll stay as far right as I can and lift off to let him past. So when no one expected it, Senna ran his Ferrari into the back of Schumacher’s McLaren. The McLaren veered right, without its rear wing, but continued. The Ferrari veered left, without its front wing and the right front wheel, but also continued. Both drivers made it to the pits.
Senna parked his car in the Ferrari pit box nose first. He threw his steering wheel out, got up, and stormed out of the pit box, pushing his mechanics aside.
Angrily taking off his helmet and balaclava, Senna stormed past the Williams and Benetton teams, and into the McLaren pit box.
A senior team member tried to stop him, but to no avail. The Brazilian, who had almost come to terms with the cheating allegations and the infamous crash of 1994, and their fierce battles and accidents a season later, was determined to obtain redress with Schumacher.
Ferrari team boss Jean Todt quickly got off the pit wall and hurried towards his driver. But he couldn’t stop the confrontation.
Senna versus Schumacher will be available on Thursday 1 May 2014.
At the FIA’s prize-giving gala, Senna and Schumacher are sat next to each other, and during the evening, they are joined by their old rival, Alain Prost. They talk about the fateful Imola weekend, now some three and a half years ago.
— “How were you able to cope with that weekend, emotionally, Ayrton?” asked Schumacher.
— “First of all”, Senna replied, “I got a big wake-up call from that accident. I realised that I could do myself some serious damage. That we all could. But it also dawned to me that, as the senior driver, at the time, I had a special responsibility. And with the both of you, and with Gerhard and Christian, we recreated the GPDA, of course. I felt that was an important step, to stand up against the other forces, and working with them, while representing the drivers’ needs.”
— “But did the weekend change you? As a man? As a driver?”
— “From Imola onwards I was a different driver for sure. Not slower or less competitive, just different. I knew where the boundaries and limits were and I knew I had to respect them more.”
— “Still, over the next season, you and Michael had a difficult time dealing with those limits”, Prost queried.
— “That is true”, Senna admitted.
— “How would you compare your incidents with Michael with our own?”
— “That’s difficult to say, Alain. There were many factors that contributed to our rivalry.” Senna referred to the difficulties he had had with then-FIA President Jean-Marie Balestre, and decisions that the sporting commissioners had taken under his guidance. “They very much contributed to the difficulties we had.”
Then, while firmly looking Senna in the eye, Prost put his hand on Schumacher’s shoulder, and said: “Can you imagine what young drivers, back then, thought, when they saw things like that in Formula One? They will have thought they could get away with anything.”
Tell us what you think. Drop us a line below, or on Twitter.
This — incidentally my 100th post on the site! — is an excerpt from the Senna versus Schumacher story.
It’s the final race. The Benetton driver is out; the Williams is stricken, but still going. Who will take the 1994 Formula One World championship?
On lap 70, Senna finds himself right behind Frentzen, but he also has Alesi on his tail. At the end of the Brabham straight, Senna goes for it. Frentzen doesn’t fight back and Alesi profits. Sixth place.
Eleven laps to go. Sixth would earn Senna a single point, taking him level with Schumacher in the championship standings. But the German’s seven wins over Senna’s six would grant him the title. And with Panis almost a minute up the road, it looked like the end for Senna.
Only a few more months and you’ll know…
Last night, my co-author — whom I’ll reveal shortly 😉 — and I finalised the concept for our new Senna versus Schumacher set-up and sent the outlines of it to our potential publisher for him to review.
Tentative title for new-style Senna versus Schumacher
The title for our alternate set-up would likely be:
Senna vs Schumacher and Six Other Formula One Rivalries That Never Happened
7 what-if stories about perished/injured drivers
Like I stated earlier, the new set-up consists of 7 stories revolving around drivers and their main rivalries had they not died or been injured to the extent that they could no longer compete at the top level.
The 7 what-if stories are:
- Senna versus Schumacher
- Villeneuve versus Prost
- Reutemann versus Andretti
- Cevert versus Lauda
- Rindt versus Stewart
- Moss versus Clark
- Ascari versus Fangio
Dutch or English book depends on publisher’s reply
We now wait for the publishers reply. If he responds favourably, we will likely write Senna versus Schumacher in Dutch in co-operation with the publisher. If he does not, we will likely write an English book and publish it ourselves, either as e-book or through printing-on-demand.
Let us know what you think
We’re of course very curious for your thoughts. What do you think of our alternate set-up? How do you feel about the 7 stories? Is there anything we missed or anything that you would like to add?
Please leave a comment or drop us a line on Twitter: @SennavsSchumi