“Next weekend at Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit we will tell a good part of the history of Formula 1 that at Shanghai crossed the line of its 1,000th grand prix, thanks to a starting grid of more than 30 F2 racing cars, together with many friends, drivers and engineers,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi, “I took part in more than 340 rounds with the Minardi Team and I am proud to share the results of this wonderful period with all the fans”.

On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th Imola’s International Circuit will host the fourth edition of the motoring event created by the manager from Faenza and brought onto the track with Formula Imola.

The single ticket that can be bought on TicketOne or directly at the Santerno circuit will give access to the pits, paddock and the terrace for a dip into the history of Motorsport with more than 30 F1 racing cars (starting with the Cooper Maserati T51 up to the Scuderia Toro Rosso passing through Minardi, Ferrari, Williams, Ayrton Senna’s McLaren, Tecno, Wolf, Tyrrell, Fittipaldi, Theodore, Arrows, Osella, Dallara, March), F2, F3, Gran Turismo, Prototypes such as the Alfa Romeo 33 TT 3 and the Lucchini Motorsport, Lancia Martini, Lotus Elise, as well as Supercar with the badges of Pagani, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, Dallara Stradale and Alpine which will take to the track on both days

For the occasion Riccardo Patrese will return to the wheel of the Renault powered Williams FW14, the car with which he won the Mexico and Portugal GPs, while Pierluigi Martini will take to the track with the six-wheeled Tyrrell P36 and the Minardi M189.

Over the two days the pits and the paddock will be “invaded” by champions of Motorsport , with the great participation of the F1 Grand Prix Club: Riccardo Patrese  together with his son Lorenzo who is already a protagonist in karting, Emanuele Pirro, Alessandro Nannini, Pierluigi Martini,  Luca Badoer Fabrizio Barbazza,  Moreno Roberto, Andrea Montermini, Luis Perez Sala, Paolo Barilla, Gabriele Tredozi and Aldo Costa former Technical Directors of Team Minardi, Mauro Forghieri, Alex Caffi, Giovanni Lavaggi, Carlo Facetti, Gabriele Lancieri, Claudio and Gianni Giudice Angelo Ancherani, karting driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Francesco Bergomi, Sergio Camapana, Enzo Coloni, Roberto Del Castello, Farneti Roberto, Giorgio Francia, Bruno Giacomelli, Roberto Marazzi, Mauro Martini,  Nicolò Piancastelli, Andrea Rosso, Enrico Toccacelo, Howden Ganley, Mario Theissen, Richard Attwood, Daniele Audetto, Derek Daly, Gery Brandstetter, Graham Gauld, Hans Herrmann, Teddy Pilette, David Piper, Jo Ramirez, Axel Schmidt, Marc Surer, Patrick Tambay, Jo Vonlanthen and Mike Wilds  will be available to sign autographs.

Once more there will be the appointments in the Ayrton Senna Conference Room with the  Libreria dell’Automobile  (Automobile Bookshop) which will present extraordinary books signed by Pino Allievi, Mario Donnini, Paola Rovolta and Umberto Zapelloni (Giorgio Nada Editore). The Scuderia Tazio Nuvolari will present the historic Lucchini sport Register and the Lotus Elisa S1 and the debate with engineer Nicola Materazzi.

The Champions of Motorsport of the F1 GRAND PRIX CLUB will be waiting for you on Sunday 28th at 11.00am.

There will be innovation and road safety with Easyrain, the innovative SME that develops safety systems that is committed to creating the first anti-aquaplaning gadget for cars and autonomous vehicles will be at Imola to put its research on display for drivers, teams and all the fans.

Furthermore at the Historic Minardi Day you will be able to admire cars constructed from LEGO blocks. The Gruppo Appassionati LEGO Brianza LUG (Recognized LEGO Users Group) and their friends from Æmilia Bricks and  Piemonte Bricks will organize an exhibition with 12 “theme islands”. One of the cars on display will the Lancia Delta HF Integrale made with LECO Technic.

There will be plenty of space for entertainment in the Simulators and E-sport area where you will be able to put yourself to the test on the Imola track by becoming a driver for a day, and theDriver Experience. You can also take to the track in your own supercar during free practice which will give you the chance to put on the helmet and experience the thrill of a lap of the Santerno track (subject to booking directly at the circuit) aboard a fantastic Supercar of the calibre of Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio of more than 500CV and the Dallara Stradale with Andrea Levy. In Paddock 2 you will be able to witness the incredible radio controlled F1 car challenges organized by the Faenza RC Team.

It is perfectly human that when someone important dies we start thinking about it. And sooner or later all kinds of theories come out about what happened especially if they are supported by ”proofs” that came from different sources than the ones officially recognized.

It is perfectly normal that we want our heroes to be a little superhuman and unmistakable so usually, the simplest and easiest explanation is simply not enough. We start searching for the ”truth” or ”our truth” that mostly has no connection with reality.

One of those moments happened on May 1st, 1994. Result of unpredictable circumstances and unlucky actions caused the death of one of the greatest drivers of that era Ayrton Senna. Moments after the tragic impact lots of people started talking about more or less confirmed sources about what ”really” happened and what was the ”real” cause of the accident. There were theories that are still alive today that Ayrton was under heavy psychological stress after the death of Ronald Ratzenberger and personal love issues. But let’s be serious for a moment. Do we really believe that such a great racing driver, a three-time Formula One world champion wasn’t mentally strong enough to overcome that? I am sure that when he put his racing helmet on the left his problems behind. Even if they didn’t share much time together, the death of a fellow colleague driver was more of a motivation for winning than a death premonition.

“There were theories that are still alive today that Ayrton was under heavy psychological stress after the death of Ronald Ratzenberger and personal love issues. But let’s be serious for a moment. Do we really believe that such a great racing driver, a three-time Formula One world champion wasn’t mentally strong enough to overcome that?”

A second, more plausible theory talks about his Williams driving over debris from a previous accident and got a tire puncture. That is possible however do we really believe that such an experienced driver as Ayrton Senna did not notice that? I think it’s almost impossible. More so we were in the era right after the ban of active suspension with all the information about the ride height of a car immediately available in the pits. There however was no sign of any puncture. Some might argue that the team covered something but all that information only confirmed that was a fatality and not a conspiracy.

“A second, more plausible theory talks about his Williams driving over debris from a previous accident and got a tyre puncture.”

And now for the biggest theory of them all, the one about the poorly welded steering column. That column was fixed especially on Ayrton Senna’s request before the race. However, it was fixed in a way that anyone who knows a little bit about racing cars would consider it unacceptable if not offensive. Such modifications are not acceptable even in local lawn mower races and here we are talking about Formula 1. The fact is that the steering column was broken yet it remains a mystery if that happened before or after the crash. The footage from the camera is showing what everybody would want to see, however, the tape stopped when the crucial moment came. The big process in Italy based on that fact found the team guilty yet nobody was sent to prison. And after years of trials what remains is just theories without any strong proof.

After all these theories I dare making my own one. One that is based on simple and possible things that probably happened. I hope that we all agree that Ayrton Senna was a stubborn character, one that drove always on the limit of his car and sometimes even exceeding that limit. His driving style was rather nervous, always searching for the grip of the car. That was a part of him, a part of his greatness. On the other hand, the Williams FW16 had a little flaw. It was an evolution of the FW15C but without the active suspension. Patrick Head and Adrian Newey confirmed that that car had a very narrow setting window and was very prone to change from an oversteer tendency to an understeer one. We also have to keep in mind that  FW 16 had servo-assisted steering which was a new thing in that era. Only with the revisited WF16B the Williams team partially solved that issues and won the constructor championship at the end of the year.

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Here I think it is right to mention the words of the closest person to Ayrton in that race and who should know the situation best, his team mate Damon Hill who said that it was a driving mistake and not a strange conspiracy. I hope we all agree about Ayrton Senna being an extraordinary human being and driver however he was not a mythological god. Maybe he really did a mistake and in combination with an unpredictable and nervous racing car, Ayrton Senna found himself in a situation that even he was not able to solve.

Simon Jazbec