It’s been a quarter of a century since you’re gone. Things have changed, others have come, your rivals have grown old, but you have remained the same and unchanged. But how to explain who you are, someone who has 18 today or maybe 24? The biggest, the fastest, or the god on earth? Many confuse what you were with what you meant to him. Your victories were theirs, the success of the rigid world through your eyes.
Someone who has not experienced you and knows about you only what the older brothers told him, will find it hard to understand. On the track, I have never cheered on you, even though you’ve been driving for “my” team Lotus. This is where an important dividing line is hidden because you are not just a driver, but you were, you are, and you will always be, just a human being. Your exceptional humanity is something that is unjustly ignored by many.
Battles with Alain were often on the edge of the rules and perhaps even over. We all remember “lessons” you gave to young Schumacher and Irvine, but few remember that Mansell has also raised you half a meter above the ground because you were too “ambitious”.
When you stopped in the middle of the track and helped Eric Coma to stay alive, I was sure that you would have done the same thing if Alain Prost was in his place. I believe that even if you hated him so much, you would never have done anything to regret it. The legend says that you went to the last race with an Austrian flag in your pocket in order to honor a deceased colleague. To someone, you actually did not even know, a rookie, but someone who was close to you.
It’s hard to explain to someone who never experienced you how great man you were. Although it’s been a quarter of a century, you’ve stayed here somewhere with us, just like Ronnie, Gilles, Jimmy and everyone else. What makes this great and unforgettable is exactly this immense humanity with all the positive and negative sides. If you like it or not, nobody can dispute your legacy. If anyone asks me who Ayrton Senna was, I will repeat your sentence, the one that best describes you, you as a human being. Ayrton Senna was a man who knew that the second one is only the first loser.
Robert Kubica has hailed Kimi Raikkonen as one of Formula 1’s best drivers despite his age.
The Pole, Williams’ driver, made his long-awaited return in Formula 1 this season.
Robert Kubica shared his thoughts on Kimi Räikkönen:
“Kimi is still one of the best driver in Formula 1 even though he has some age now. He has been a bit unlucky this season but he’s still good.”“I would like to be Kimi’s team-mate, he is a bit special but I like his lifestyle. He would be one of the best team-mates what you could have.”
Kubica was tipped as a future world champion during his first stint in F1 in which he claimed 12 podium finishes and won the 2008 Canadian GP.
But a one-off participation in the 2011 Ronde di Andora rally dramatically changed the course of his career as he crashed into a church wall and suffered extensive damage to his right hand, arm and leg. He underwent several hours of surgery and suffered a partial amputation of his forearm.
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.
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.
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.
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.