live Infotainment Factory: Mark Webber: Senna's death saved my life

Trending

>

Post Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Mark Webber: Senna's death saved my life


//

Retired Australian Formula One star Mark Webber says his life was probably saved by the safety improvements made to the cars in the wake of Ayrton Senna’s death at Imola in 1994.

Speaking to Wide World of Sports to mark today’s 25th anniversary of Senna’s fatal crash, Webber described the awful events of that weekend as a “huge wake-up call” for the sport.

Senna died after crashing while leading the San Marino Grand Prix, just 24 hours after fellow driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed during qualifying, on a weekend also marked by a horror crash for Rubens Barrichello and a startline accident for JJ Lehto.

No driver had died in a Formula One car since 1986, an eight year period marked by significant advances in technology that made the sport safer than ever before.

The fact that Barrichello had survived his horrific crash during Friday practice with just a broken nose reinforced that view, with Senna’s teammate Damon Hill later remarking that the drivers “brushed themselves off and carried on, reassured that our cars were tough as tanks and we could be shaken but not hurt.”

That assumption went out the window during Saturday’s qualifying session, when Ratzenberger, in his first season of F1, was killed after his car suffered a front wing failure at 306kph, the impact with the concrete wall fracturing his skull.

Senna, a triple world champion and favourite to take the 1994 title despite failing to finish the opening two races of the season, crashed in the early stages of the race, killed instantly after suffering head injuries that were likely caused by being struck by a piece from the suspension.

Officials run towards Ayrton Senna's crashed Williams at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

The horror weekend resulted in widespread changes to the cars, including increased head protection, and it was to be more than two decades before another fatality, with Jules Bianchi passing away in 2015 from injuries sustained during the previous year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Webber was involved in his fair share of horrifying accidents during his long career at the top, none more so than during the 2010 European Grand Prix, when his Red Bull took off after clipping the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s car.

Asked if he ever stepped out of a wrecked car after a crash and gave thanks for the safety improvements following Senna’s death, Webber was typically honest.

“Of course. Yeah I did. Many of us did,” Webber told Wide World of Sports.

“Not just Ayrton, but we can be thankful for the efforts of guys like Jackie Stewart as well.

“Then we lost Jules Bianchi at Suzuka a couple of years ago, and we went through another whole lot of learnings of what we can do better with things like helmets and track operations.

“We want to race the cars on the limit, it’s not lawn bowls.

“We want to push, we want to go hard. But we don’t want to be losing our friends. It’s always a very fine line.”

Ayrton Senna

Senna was a polarising figure during his 10 years in Formula One. Regarded as one of the best qualifiers of all time, he was often able to go out on track with just minutes remaining and produce a lap seemingly beyond the limits of his car to claim pole position.

World champion in 1988, 1990 and 1991, he was involved in a long running battle with his former teammate Alain Prost, that resulted in controversial finishes to both the 1989 and 1990 championships.

In 1990, Senna deliberately drove Prost off the road at the Japanese Grand Prix, securing the championship for himself, later admitting he did it as payback for what he perceived as an injustice from the year before.

“Senna was at times a highly controversial character, he raced with a win at all costs attitude, he wanted to win, and he pushed it extremely hard,” Webber said.

“That’s why we all gravitated towards him, because he was on that fine line all the time.

Ayrton Senna (left) and Alain Prost just before they collided at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix.

“He was highly articulate, very clever, there’s a lot of knowledgeable F1 drivers but not everyone gives us the credit that we deserve, but Senna really encapsulated us off the track as someone who had tremendous character.

“He encapsulated his nation as well, Brazil was totally rocked by his death. Sport does that. With all the stuff that’s going on in the world, sport is the one thing that gets people to believe in themselves and believe in their country and be patriotic. There’s nothing wrong with loving your country and Senna did that to Brazil. It was great to see.”

In many ways Senna was defined by his rivalry with Prost, and Webber says splitting the two is hard.

“Prost went about it in a very different way. It was very well advertised that he was the Professor, he tried to win at the slowest possible speed,” Webber said.

“He wasn’t dramatic to watch, he wasn’t spectacular, he was very pedestrian, but he got the job done. In that generation it was absolutely between Ayrton and Alain.

“Senna was so spectacular to watch, yes he crashed a lot more than Alain, but that was because he wanted to push the boundaries so much more than anybody else, where Alain was more methodical.

“As is often the case when we lose someone early the legacy is turbocharged. It’s so close between those two.”

Mark Webber won nine races during his F1 career.

Webber was 17 years old at the time of Senna’s death, making his way through the junior categories in Australia. He says the news of the accident hit him hard.

“I remember Mum waking me up and she told me he died. It didn’t sink in, I couldn’t get my head around it. I remember seeing (Nine newsreader) Brian Henderson on the news, he never spoke about car racing, he never spoke about any of my heroes, but this time he was.

“I remember Dad going into another part of the house because he didn’t want to be with me when I saw it, because I was just blown away. That’s when it sinks in that it can happen to anyone, because obviously Ayrton was a guy that you never expected to die in a racing car.”

Webber says the San Marino race will be forever remembered as one of the blackest times in Formula One’s history.

“That whole weekend was just totally haunted. To have this huge gap without fatalities, and then have four really nasty accidents is just ridiculous,” he said.

“Fortunately two of the guys were OK – JJ Lehto and Rubens, but Roland and Ayrton didn’t make it.

“It literally was just completely unbelievable.”

Retired Australian Formula One star Mark Webber says his life was probably saved by the safety improvements made to the cars in the wake of Ayrton Senna’s death at Imola in 1994.

Speaking to Wide World of Sports to mark today’s 25th anniversary of Senna’s fatal crash, Webber described the awful events of that weekend as a “huge wake-up call” for the sport.

Senna died after crashing while leading the San Marino Grand Prix, just 24 hours after fellow driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed during qualifying, on a weekend also marked by a horror crash for Rubens Barrichello and a startline accident for JJ Lehto.

No driver had died in a Formula One car since 1986, an eight year period marked by significant advances in technology that made the sport safer than ever before.

The fact that Barrichello had survived his horrific crash during Friday practice with just a broken nose reinforced that view, with Senna’s teammate Damon Hill later remarking that the drivers “brushed themselves off and carried on, reassured that our cars were tough as tanks and we could be shaken but not hurt.”

That assumption went out the window during Saturday’s qualifying session, when Ratzenberger, in his first season of F1, was killed after his car suffered a front wing failure at 306kph, the impact with the concrete wall fracturing his skull.

Senna, a triple world champion and favourite to take the 1994 title despite failing to finish the opening two races of the season, crashed in the early stages of the race, killed instantly after suffering head injuries that were likely caused by being struck by a piece from the suspension.

Officials run towards Ayrton Senna's crashed Williams at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

The horror weekend resulted in widespread changes to the cars, including increased head protection, and it was to be more than two decades before another fatality, with Jules Bianchi passing away in 2015 from injuries sustained during the previous year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Webber was involved in his fair share of horrifying accidents during his long career at the top, none more so than during the 2010 European Grand Prix, when his Red Bull took off after clipping the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s car.

Asked if he ever stepped out of a wrecked car after a crash and gave thanks for the safety improvements following Senna’s death, Webber was typically honest.

“Of course. Yeah I did. Many of us did,” Webber told Wide World of Sports.

“Not just Ayrton, but we can be thankful for the efforts of guys like Jackie Stewart as well.

“Then we lost Jules Bianchi at Suzuka a couple of years ago, and we went through another whole lot of learnings of what we can do better with things like helmets and track operations.

“We want to race the cars on the limit, it’s not lawn bowls.

“We want to push, we want to go hard. But we don’t want to be losing our friends. It’s always a very fine line.”

Ayrton Senna

Senna was a polarising figure during his 10 years in Formula One. Regarded as one of the best qualifiers of all time, he was often able to go out on track with just minutes remaining and produce a lap seemingly beyond the limits of his car to claim pole position.

World champion in 1988, 1990 and 1991, he was involved in a long running battle with his former teammate Alain Prost, that resulted in controversial finishes to both the 1989 and 1990 championships.

In 1990, Senna deliberately drove Prost off the road at the Japanese Grand Prix, securing the championship for himself, later admitting he did it as payback for what he perceived as an injustice from the year before.

“Senna was at times a highly controversial character, he raced with a win at all costs attitude, he wanted to win, and he pushed it extremely hard,” Webber said.

“That’s why we all gravitated towards him, because he was on that fine line all the time.

Ayrton Senna (left) and Alain Prost just before they collided at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix.

“He was highly articulate, very clever, there’s a lot of knowledgeable F1 drivers but not everyone gives us the credit that we deserve, but Senna really encapsulated us off the track as someone who had tremendous character.

“He encapsulated his nation as well, Brazil was totally rocked by his death. Sport does that. With all the stuff that’s going on in the world, sport is the one thing that gets people to believe in themselves and believe in their country and be patriotic. There’s nothing wrong with loving your country and Senna did that to Brazil. It was great to see.”

In many ways Senna was defined by his rivalry with Prost, and Webber says splitting the two is hard.

“Prost went about it in a very different way. It was very well advertised that he was the Professor, he tried to win at the slowest possible speed,” Webber said.

“He wasn’t dramatic to watch, he wasn’t spectacular, he was very pedestrian, but he got the job done. In that generation it was absolutely between Ayrton and Alain.

“Senna was so spectacular to watch, yes he crashed a lot more than Alain, but that was because he wanted to push the boundaries so much more than anybody else, where Alain was more methodical.

“As is often the case when we lose someone early the legacy is turbocharged. It’s so close between those two.”

Mark Webber won nine races during his F1 career.

Webber was 17 years old at the time of Senna’s death, making his way through the junior categories in Australia. He says the news of the accident hit him hard.

“I remember Mum waking me up and she told me he died. It didn’t sink in, I couldn’t get my head around it. I remember seeing (Nine newsreader) Brian Henderson on the news, he never spoke about car racing, he never spoke about any of my heroes, but this time he was.

“I remember Dad going into another part of the house because he didn’t want to be with me when I saw it, because I was just blown away. That’s when it sinks in that it can happen to anyone, because obviously Ayrton was a guy that you never expected to die in a racing car.”

Webber says the San Marino race will be forever remembered as one of the blackest times in Formula One’s history.

“That whole weekend was just totally haunted. To have this huge gap without fatalities, and then have four really nasty accidents is just ridiculous,” he said.

“Fortunately two of the guys were OK – JJ Lehto and Rubens, but Roland and Ayrton didn’t make it.

“It literally was just completely unbelievable.”

http://bit.ly/2IPwwDX
//

No comments:

Post a Comment