Ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna, Max Mosley claims the horror of Imola resulted in a legacy which has benefited us all.
Above you see the cover image for the ‘Senna versus Schumacher’ story. It was designed by Pim Broekhof.
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.”
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