Senna & Ratzenberger - The San Marino Weekend 25 Years On

May 1st 1994 1.jpg

May 1st marks the 25th anniversary since that tragic 1994 San Marino Grand Prix weekend.


Ayrton Senna will forever be remembered as one of the most colourful, charismatic and talented drivers ever to set foot on the world stage, and 25 years ago today, the then 34-year-old Brazilian three time World Champion lost his life at the flat out Tamburello corner in Imola - robbing the sport of arguably its greatest ever competitor.

The events of Imola that fateful weekend in 1994 have been recorded and recited many times since, however one fact remains forever the same - when the Formula One field left Italy that warm Sunday evening on May 1st 1994, Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna would no longer be amongst their number.

In modern times it is almost inconceivable to imagine a Grand Prix driver losing their life during a Formula One race event, let alone two of their hero's in the space of a single weekend, and perhaps that is one of the greatest legacies left by these two men of speed - following the events of that race weekend the sport we all know today would be changed forever. Those two fatalities, and the accidents that befell Jordan driver Rubens Barrichello and the start line crash on race day, became a catalyst for dramatic safety improvements within the sport, improvements that have doubtlessly saved the lives of many drivers that followed in their footsteps.

So while you are browsing the internet today, take a few moments to remember two fallen hero's from the history of the sport. Two men who went to Italy with the desire to live out their dream on the racing circuit, and as history will forever record, paid the ultimate price for that privilege.

Gone, but never forgotten.

Roland Ratzenberger: 04.07.1960 - 30.04.1994
Roland Ratzenberger.jpg


Ayrton Senna da Silva: 21.3.1960 - 01.05.1994
Ayrton Senna.jpg
 
RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

simon2002

25RPM
Apr 18, 2018
28
17
23
Ratzenberger died in April not May
 

Celtic Pharaoh

2000RPM
Premium
Feb 3, 2010
2,110
1,022
I was never fortunate enough to watch them race but through my older brother, whom through I built my love for F1 and motorsport in general, I came to learn about Senna and read the journey Ratzenberger took to reach F1.

The main reason why I wore Senna's infamous S shirt during the Blancpain Monza event was to pay tribute to my hero and role model in racing but also in certain aspects, in life. He really was a different breed and whilst he had his moments, like in Suzuka '90, he was on the whole an incredibly wise man and an amazing driver.

There really hasn't been anyone I found in the sport since whose had that same charisma and ability, although with Bianchi and now Leclerc, I feel we may have someone of a similar stature as Senna had but only time will tell.

He is sorely missed and will forever be my guiding beacon in racing.

May Roland and Ayrton rest in peace and may their families find comfort in each other and be proud of the impact their sons, brothers had on the sport, whether that be in safety or competition.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lentoveloz

Littlefysh

Professional Nutcase
Premium
Jun 17, 2017
175
116
Ratzenberger died in April not May
It's stated that Senna died on May 1st, so logically Ratzenberger did not, because he lost his life the day before. It is also stated above Ratzenbergers picture the day on which he lost his life, that being the 30th of April 1994.

Please fully read the article before raising an issue like this to ensure you have not missed anything.
 

muzikant

1000RPM
Apr 19, 2010
1,319
1,044
Both are to young to die. The only positive from this black weekend after San Marino the sport becomes safer.

R.i.p. Roland and Ayrton
 

iZ GunDaM

250RPM
Sep 15, 2012
366
129
27
Said it once before, but I'll say it again: What a cured season 1994 turned out to be.
 

Eric Rowland

500RPM
Sep 21, 2008
689
589
64
Interesting interview with longtime F1 photographer American Terry Griffin.
His comments @ 1:25.30 concerning the famous photo taken by colleague Paul-Henri Cahier of the debris Senna ran over and his subsequent question to Michael Schumacher are fascinating.
Also his question to Prof Syd Watkins on Ayrton's accident is revealing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EsxPaul and Alex72

bsmooth

500RPM
Jul 27, 2015
545
160
62
I've been lucky enough to have watched many great talents in F1. Senna always amazed me the most the way he drove the car, it never seemed to have a hair out of place, not a lot of dramatics from the car. Most of the greats always had these traits,Stewart,Clark and so may others.
I think what really took me by surprise was how soft spoken he was most of the time. He did most of his speaking on the track, where it just couldn't be ignored.
There are some things that just go hand in hand, when you mention F1, Senna is always somewhere in the back of your mind, along with the other greats like Ascari , Fangio , Clark, Rindt, and the list goes on and on.
I recently had a chance to see Senna the movie, and it wasn't so much remembering, but more like reliving it again. Its the in car videos I remember most I think, especially Monaco, like the car was on rails, yet the roar and scream of the engine so loud and violent sounding, yet he seemed to go about it like a walk in the park...while the rest of us looked on in awe.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DND

DND

Stay Safe, Healthy and be Kind - BLM
Staff
Premium
Dec 12, 2016
1,828
1,604
58
That was such a gut wrenching weekend for all racing fans and for me I have a constant reminder that I can't seem to let go. I had just taken delivery of my Ducati 888 Ltd. and was staying with friends as we were going on our Sunday morning breakfast cruise. I was so excited I could barely contain myself as I would watch my favorite GP and then the first ride of the season on what was expected to be a great sunny and somewhat warm day.
I had watched in horror Ruben's accident, as I thought for sure he would be seriously injured if not worse. Then tragedy strikes with Roland on Saturday.
On Sunday I think I was holding my breath for the first few minutes and then watched in disbelief the first lap wreck, I thought to myself then, just red flag the race and send people home disappointed, but I continued to watch hoping the laps would fly by and all would be alright.
The bike remains in the garage as a a memory of great times and one tragic weekend.
Makes me want to cry to be honest.
 

Koen Verlinde

500RPM
Sep 12, 2011
961
573
Do we get such articles about all deaths, or is it just because it was Senna?
Thanks at least someone came before me to say it.

Yes he died, yes he won 3 world championships, but this martyr role he has been given throughout the times is just...no. He also was a diehard stubborn rather wanting to injure-kill somebody than admit defeat kind of person while at the same time being religious but quickly forgetting what kind of vow he made if it could get him a personal added value.

It's not the kind of person I can respect. It's not like motorsport lacks talented people that can be remembered.
 

HK2014

100RPM
Feb 25, 2014
147
61
25
that radio to Alain just before that race... still gives me the chills
they might not have been the best friends at some point (like at suzuka) but then they finally respected each other.
RIP
 

aka2k

500RPM
Sep 30, 2009
573
356
Senna's death took F1 with him. You guys have no idea how big was the commotion here in Brazil back then. It was like everyone has lost someone so close and dear to them. Everybody was crying and sad.

Things only got a little less bleak when the soccer team won the World Cup a couple of months later, but still, there will always be this void where Senna was. At least for those who were lucky enough to catch him every Sunday morning on TV.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Eric Rowland

José lima

10RPM
Dec 2, 2014
19
26
36
Thanks at least someone came before me to say it.

Yes he died, yes he won 3 world championships, but this martyr role he has been given throughout the times is just...no. He also was a diehard stubborn rather wanting to injure-kill somebody than admit defeat kind of person while at the same time being religious but quickly forgetting what kind of vow he made if it could get him a personal added value.

It's not the kind of person I can respect. It's not like motorsport lacks talented people that can be remembered.
You should say that to Eric Comas.
 

Lentoveloz

75RPM
Premium
Mar 30, 2016
88
110
Senna died when he was going through a major transformation. He was trying something impossible: to become as big as person as the pilot he was. It was wonderful to see him trying with all his might to be someone really better. Most people go through life without trying it with all their heart.
 

DND

Stay Safe, Healthy and be Kind - BLM
Staff
Premium
Dec 12, 2016
1,828
1,604
58
Senna besides being a racing legend while he was alive, was also an advocate for the drivers that did not have his talent or recognition in their development, support and mostly their safety. You may argue Senna used his car as an instrument to inflict damage to a competitor like Prost but if you review it was more bad sportsmanship than violence against him.
No doubt these athletes who's lives are lost to the sport we enjoy is tragic regardless of trophies won, lets not minimize the effect of Senna's demise and it will still be felt in another 25 years.
 

Terry Rock

2000RPM
Oct 24, 2009
2,750
1,627
You should say that to Eric Comas.
He simply could have just continued read the post and kept those feelings inside..
I don't see the point of 'slagging' off Senna in an anniversary remembrance thread?
The man is dead.
Nothing said now, can change who he was perceived to be.
I personally choose to remember the good he did for the under-privilege in Brazil
 
  • Like
Reactions: BP and Patrik Marek