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2013 F1

Newey still concerned by Senna’s fatal accident

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Newey still concerned by Senna's fatal accidentFormula One design guru Adrian Newey says that he is still concerned by Ayrton Senna’s death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Adrian Newey was the chief designer at Williams, which Senna died in on May 1, 1994, when he crashed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. But Newey said the accident still plays on his mind.

“What happened that day, what caused the accident, still haunts me to this day,” he told BBC Sport.

Triple time world champion suffered fatal head injuries in a crash at the 190mph Tamburello corner at Italy’s Imola race track on 1 May 1994.

Williams said all the data pointed to a driver error caused by Senna pushing too hard over bad bumps in a corner made more challenging than normal by the handling problems the car was suffering from at the time.

“The steering column failure, was it the cause, or did it happen in the accident?” said Newey, speaking in an exclusive interview to be broadcast on 5 live F1 on Thursday.

“There is no doubt it was cracked. Equally, all the data, all the circuit cameras, the on-board camera from Michael Schumacher’s car that was following, none of that appears to be consistent with a steering-column failure.

“The car oversteered [when the rear tried to spin] initially and Ayrton caught that and only then did it go straight.

“But the first thing that happened was oversteer, in much the same way as you will sometimes see on a superspeedway in the States – the car will lose the rear, the driver will correct, and then it will go straight and hit the outside wall, which doesn’t appear to be consistent with a steering-column failure.”

Newey said he was still upset by the knowledge Senna joined Williams to win a fourth title and the car they gave him was not initially up to the job. He was killed in his third race for the team.

“There was an aura about him, something that’s difficult to describe. He most certainly had a presence,” Newey said of Senna.

“I guess one of the things that will always haunt me is that he joined Williams because we had managed to build a decent car for the previous three years and he wanted to be in the team he thought built the best car – and unfortunately that ’94 car at the start of the season wasn’t a good car.

“Ayrton’s raw talent and determination… he tried to carry that car and make it do things it really wasn’t capable of.

“And it just seems such a shame and so unfair he was in that position. And then, of course, by the time we did get the car sorted, he wasn’t with us any longer.”

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