Formula 1 Print 1994 - Ayrton Senna in qualifying in his Williams-Renault FW16 at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola
Ayrton Senna (BRA) during qualifying in his Williams-Renault FW16 in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola before his fatal accident the following day on May 1st.
This was a tragic race weekend where Senna and Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger (AUT) were killed in separate accidents. Ratzenberger died in qualifying in his Simtek-Ford, whilst Senna was killed during the race having started on pole position. . As well driver Rubens Barrichello was injured along with several mechanics and spectators. Senna started in pole position, but Michael Schumacher (GER) went on to win the race despite Damon Hill (GBR) achieving the fastest lap.
The San Marino Grand Prix (Italian: Gran Premio di San Marino) was a Formula One championship race which was run at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in the town of Imola, near the Apennine mountains in Italy, between 1981 and 2006. It was named after nearby San Marino because there already was an Italian Grand Prix held at Monza. In 1980, when Monza was under refurbishment, the Imola track was used for the 51st Italian Grand Prix.
Roland Ratzenberger (4 July 1960 – 30 April 1994) was an Austrian racing driver who raced in sports prototype, Formula Nippon, Formula 3000 and Formula One. He died during qualifying for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the same event at which three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna died the following day.
Ayrton Senna da Silva; 21 March 1960 – 1 May 1994, was a Brazilian racing driver who won three Formula One world championships in 1988, 1990 and 1991. He was killed in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. He was among the most dominant and successful Formula One drivers of the modern era and is considered by many as the greatest racing driver of all time.
Senna began his motorsport career in karting, moving up to open-wheel racing in 1981, and winning theBritish Formula 3 championship in 1983. He made his Formula One debut with Toleman-Hart in 1984 before moving to Lotus-Renault the following year and winning six Grands Prix over the next three seasons. In 1988, he joined Frenchman Alain Prost at McLaren-Honda. Between them, they won all but one of the 16 Grand Prix that year and Senna claimed his first World Championship. Prost claimed the championship in 1989, and Senna his second and third championships in 1990 and 1991. In 1992, the Williams-Renault combination began to dominate Formula One. Senna nonetheless managed to finish the 1993 season as runner-up, winning five races and negotiating a move to Williams in 1994.
Senna has often been voted as the best and most influential Formula One driver of all time in various motorsport polls. He was recognised for his qualifying speed over one lap and from 1989 until 2006 held the record for most pole positions. He was also acclaimed for his wet weather performances, such as the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, and the 1993 European Grand Prix. He holds a record six victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, and is the fifth-most successful driver of all time in terms of race wins. Senna courted controversy throughout his career, particularly during his turbulent rivalry with Alain Prost. In the Japanese Grands Prix of 1989 and 1990, each of which decided the championship of that year, collisions between Senna and Prost determined the eventual winner.
The 1994 Formula One season was the 45th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1994 FIA Formula One World Championship which commenced on 27 March 1994, and ended on 13 November after sixteen races. The season is remembered as one of the most tragic and controversial seasons in the sport's history. 1994 was one of the closest championships in history as Michael Schumacher won the Drivers' title by a single point from Damon Hill after the two controversially collided at the final round in Adelaide. Schumacher had built up a huge championship lead, winning six of the first seven races, before two disqualifications and a race ban allowed Hill to close the gap. British constructor Williams-Renault won the Constructors' Championship. However, the 1994 season will also be remembered for the deaths of three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna and Austrian rookie Roland Ratzenberger at the San Marino Grand Prix. Forty-six drivers competed in the 1994 World Championship, including fourteen who made their F1 debut and numerous pay drivers. Mercedes-Benz also returned to the sport for the first time since 1955 as an engine supplier to Swiss team, Sauber. The season also saw the first win for Ferrari since four years back – whilst McLaren failed to win a single race following the departure of Senna, before embarking on a long-term partnership with Mercedes.