THE Senna Files

 

 

LetterSfile #01

Thanks for your great work in getting us news on the Ayrton Senna Trial. All SENNA fans want the truth whether Frank Williams and Patrick Head like it or not.

Mark



I think that the death of Ayrton Senna should not be taken lightly. We are all told that a F1 driver is paid to take the risk. However bearing this in mind, just think for one minute what the likes of Frank Williams and his crew could think on race day: Well he knows the risk so what the hell, forget about this bit of the car being a bit faulty. If anything does go wrong we can put it down to driver error.

Come on F.I.A, let's see some kind of punishment for this gross neglect, otherwise F1 racing in the future is going to be total carnage, with no regard for the drivers safety what so ever! I have been waiting eagerly for months now as to what is to happen. If the case doesn't carry some penalty then it is a simple case that racing teams and crews responsible for the cars safety will be getting away with MURDER, nothing more, nothing less.

Svein



If a trial is necessary to get the truth about Ayrton's death then so be it. If those in the Formula One circus choose to race in a country then they are subject to the laws of that country. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

Ayrton was a perfectionist and paid attention to the smallest detail, he tried to foresee every eventuality. Had he lived he wouldn't have accepted this crash as a hazard of the job!

Senna was the best and most skilled driver of modern times. If there had there been no trial the full circumstances surrounding his death would have been swept under the carpet!

Josie



Thanks for a superb page dedicated to Ayrton. It's been three years since Imola and it's still hard to believe he's gone. We're only 8 days away from the start of a new season and I still imagine he'll be on the front row.

Russell



I've been researching the Ayrton Senna story for the last two years. At the time of the crash, which I watched over and over in disbelief, my first reaction was that he somehow lost steering! But yet, I kept thinking how can that be? The implications of your articles are chilling! Yet I applaud your 'Sfiles' for here in the States so few people even know who Ayrton Senna was. I'm probably the most knowledgeable person on Senna you can find. Over the last three years I've read most every book and found many periodicals from England, and have really been aghast at the lack of real news on him since Imola. I would be glad to offer any assistance you may require and look forward to future reports, keep up the great web site!

JeffB



Rumours are that Senna had trouble reading his dashboard and asked for the steering column to be lowered. As to why the work had been poorly welded with an inferior metal is beyond all of us. If the Williams team were not sure what happened, then why did they send Hill out for the restart?

Your description and information on the death are amazing, but I cannot understand as to why you have not explained what really caused the death. The suspension rod, still attached to the right tyre speared towards the great Brasilian and pierced his visor, like a hot knife cutting butter, causing massive head injuries and bleeding. Had the rod moved two centimetres further Senna would have had bad concussion, and probably would have sworn in his native tongue for missing out on another 10 points. (It's not been proven it was the rod - Sfiles Ed)

Senna had little sportsmanship in his veins, but what this man could do in a F1 car, we may never see it again in our life time.

Ennio



First I would like to start by saying you web site is excellent. I have been an avid Senna fan for 8 years and will continue to be one for the rest of my life. My biggest highlight of Senna was watching him take the pole and win in Montreal in 1990 while sitting on the start/finish line. I live in Massachusetts, USA and make the trip every year. I do have to admit that it is not even close to being the same.

I am very interested in the outcome of the Williams trial and hope that justice is served. I was not aware of the circumstances behind his crash until after I found your site. Thank You!!!

GeorgeW



Ayrton and my father were neighbours in their Quinta do Lago (Portugal) holiday house. While jogging together one day, Ayrton explained some things about telemetry (?!), etc. I understand this is data from the car, transmitted to the pits on a permanent basis while the car is driving. So, if his car is confiscated by the Autostrada Police in Bologna, therefore not accessible to Williams & Co. for investigation, claims going around that the steering column broke before or after or whatever, debris on the track, Ayrton's breathing tricks and so much more, why not consult Williams telemetry data. This data should give some answers, shouldn't it? I mean, what the heck are they used for anyway……????????

Is Williams keeping this confidential in case things go overboard? I have the strange impression that the commercial importance around Ayrton Senna is going to evolve this trial into something unbelievable!

Wish we were jogging in the Algarve again…

ArnoldT



Hey… I think that Senna is dead because the F.I.A. did not take the advice of the G.P.D.A and make the course safer. After Ratzenberger died, and after Barrichello's off at the Villeneuve kink, they should have realized that the drivers had a legitimate gripe… your photos are morbid… I wonder how you got them…

Raffi



Ayrton Senna was in my opinion the greatest F1 driver to race since Juan Manuel Fangio. I sincerely believe that if the tragedy had not intervened that Ayrton would have achieved his dream of five world championships. I faithfully followed Ayrton's career from Formula 3000 into F1 and to me there will never be anyone who will ever match his talent and above all love for the sport of motor racing.

When he died a part of me died along with him. I still look for the familiar green and yellow helmet at the start of each race and feel the pain in realizing that he is not there. Many times I've thought of not following F1 anymore but knowing my love for the sport I know somewhere inside of me that Ayrton would want me to continue to follow the sport that he had so much passion for. I am now the proud owner of the licensed Tag watch Senna 5.

Kathy



The information on this site has been very helpful for a project I'm carrying out at school. I'm investigating what happened at Imola on the day that Senna died and discussing whether or not members of the Williams team and course officials should be charged with manslaughter. As well as this the project looks at other safety aspects of the sport and asks the question 'Is enough being done to protect F1 drivers?'

RBurton



I'd like to thank you for putting together 'The S Files' and related columns. I just finished a book by one of the Benetton mechanics on Schumacher's car, it details day in day out work. Top F1 mechanics are very careful and I cannot believe that they could have fouled up welding a steering column. I realize accidents happen i.e. wheel nuts coming off in the haste of pit stops and racing conditions, as anyone knows these cars are taken apart and rebuilt all the time. I just can't imagine a mechanic or fabricator not taking proper care.

I would also like to know why wasn't a Williams or FIA representative observing while the car was impounded and taken apart? I can't say how disappointed I am in the Italian officials and all this delay. Hopefully, someday this will be cleared up.

Long live Senna … In our hearts and minds

Furber



It's great to read the different opinions about what really happened and I think all Ayrton's fans want to hear the truth. My father always talks to me about the greatest driver of all time Fangio, he's right and he's wrong. Ayrton was the greatest driver of all time -- and that's what I'll be telling my children.

DuncanB



I really enjoy your site, keep up the good work. What do you think of Senna's in-car video from Imola? There seems to be a sudden movement of his head to the left and upwards at the 3 second mark, when the car starts to go straight at the turn. Wouldn't this be consistent with the theory there was a failure in the steering column? Also do you know where I could get a copy of the '94 San Marino GP on VHS?

MikeB



How stupid do you think Ayrton was? Having read your pages very carefully, I noticed something on your site, which is missing from every other site I have read as well. Ayrton was a genius, no question. But what do we know about the man? Well ALL accounts say he was the most dedicated, committed driver we know. He knew everything about the sport, teams, driving and the car. Notice this last item.

Do you really think, that a man as gifted and as knowledgeable as Ayrton, did not know everything about the car he was about to get into and drive flat out? To believe he did not is just an insult to him. So if he knew what went on with the car, be it some modification he needed or wanted, then he knew the risks involved.

If this is true, then we get into a real tricky area, e.g. you go para sending on holiday, the risks are explained to you and you accept them. It goes wrong and your parents sue. Sure there is an insurance claim due, but sometimes in life you have to say "I want the risks" or "Forget it." Ayrton was always the former. This is the way I will always remember him.

It is right there should be an investigation, and to quote Michael Schumacher on that fateful day "we should learn from this" but there is a difference from a lynch mob and a free and open inquiry. The sad fact remains that court cases always, always hide the real truth from us, e.g. JFK, OJ Simpson, arms to Iraq, the Titanic etc. But look what happens with aircraft crash investigations . . we the public find out more in these cases. Yes they can lead to court cases but not in the same direct manner.

Remember this . . . There is a fine line between taking a risk and negligence.

DaveP



Thanks . . for putting this site together! It helps us crazed fans understand better as to what happened!

Good luck. Let's hope justice is served!

AdrianC



Greetings my fellow Senna fans. I watched the death of the greatest F1 driver as it came through my TV via ESPN. Besides being shocked for the rest of the days and weeks that followed, I can remember the voices of Derek Daly and Bob Varsha of ESPN asking themselves . . where the heck are the track officials to help Senna?!?!

It all smelled too rotten to be 'just an accident.' I do believe Senna's death was pre-planned. I don't have hard evidence to prove this, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what happened that black day in F1 history. For all of you who followed Senna and F1 please support the sport and the new drivers. I think this is what will always keep Senna alive . . through F1 and through all you great fans that support it!!!

Viva Senna para siempre (Senna lives forever) !!!

Elio



Whilst I understand the need for some clear answers to the tragedy of Imola, I feel that the accident was down to human error on the part of Williams as a team and Ayrton himself. I understand that the modifications to his steering were done at his request. I find it very difficult to believe that Ayrton's car was sabotaged but I think that mistakes were made. In a sport where every second counts, you will find that corners are cut in an effort to gain an advantage over your rivals, it is human nature and as humans we make mistakes that can be lethal.

I am curious as to what answers you are looking for? Do you want someone to say "yes, we deliberately put a dodgy steering column in Senna's car so it would come off." Why . . for what reason? Or do you want Williams et. al. prosecuted as revenge for the loss of the best racing driver in modern times?

As far as I can make out, every article I have read about this is based on speculation put out by the press and the Italians. I tend to be very wary of the Italian authorities as much as anyone else in this matter, corruption is rife in their legal system and their intentions may not be correct. Who is to say that THEY have not tampered with the evidence . . . after all, no one else has been granted access to the car to examine it other than the Italians themselves . . .it's just a thought !

DaveB



Why would the greatest engineering team make such a modification? The loss is, so huge, so painful.

Thanks for the info. Senna was my hero and I think about him everyday.

Mike



I feel the public has a right to know and the other drivers/teams also deserve to know what happened, though I do not believe it was necessarily Williams fault and don't believe in prosecution as the answer.

Bunchy



There is only one person who can answer what really happened on that day in May '94 but of course he is dead. It is very sad to read your comments on the Internet and if the person who financed the race let the race go ahead after the death of Ratzenberger then he along with Williams and other people must go to jail for a very long time.

Surely this should come out into the open for the world to know just what happened, the people responsible should take what is coming to them. This is just like the Americans trying to cover up the murder of President Kennedy, the difference . . . Ayrton was a much more important man than he.

Question -- Does Ayrton's girl friend and family know any of the truth or are they also being kept in the dark?

We have lost the greatest racing driver this world will ever see, yet people and the sports commentators already believe that they have found a replacement in the arrogant, baby faced German . . . . he will never ever replace the great late Ayrton Senna da Silva !

DaveBe



Senna did not make a mistake! Ayrton Senna was the best driver in the world and I am lucky to follow Senna's career since 1986. He was a god-like figure to me and I know that Ayrton did not make a mistake on May 1 1994. I would like to know the truth behind his untimely death, also I would like to see the people who are responsible punished.

Naj



Why? I wish I could shed more light on the subject, but here in Oz we get very little info also.

WE NEED THE TRUTH !

If a broken suspension component was to blame, WHY was that marshal trying so hard to remove the helmet?

Any answers would be appreciated!

Mick



The S File is a great help to me. I want to know how the greatest engineering team in the world made such a mistake. I race Go-Karts and even I wouldn't cut the steering column on it, let alone a Formula One car. All this just doesn't add up. Frank Williams - this is the weakest thing I have ever seen someone do. The pain you idiots caused the world will not soon, if ever be forgotten.

Thanks S File keep the info coming, it has helped ease the pain, a little . . . Senna lives . . .

CWi



I live in Victoria, Australia and am a loving fan of the late, great Ayrton Senna da Silva. We had an article in the Herald Sun today saying that the 5 guys we all know are going to court on Feb 10 I think it was, to sit on trial for Senna's death. If what you say is true, was there a public media release into the accident? I have looked religiously at all Senna stuff in the papers, and searched far and wide on the WWW and cannot even find the 500 page inquiry document that is allegedly on the Internet for public viewing.

Out of all the stories I have read, I still do not have a personal conclusion of what happened. If the steering rod broke, why did Senna still have steering until the moment of impact? I have studied the video footage many times and believe that the steering was still moving! But then again the black box was tampered with, as the whole world already knows, and the car is hidden somewhere in the world that apparently no-one will ever find.

I still do not believe that Frank is hiding anything, he is just hiding the car, to maybe stop investigators dragging him through so much more dirt. I feel so sorry for the poor guy! If a 2cm long piece of suspension rod came dislodged, did the investigators and coroner find it? Too many things hidden and not enough evidence revealed.

All in all, I will still invest my thousands of dollars in Senna memorabilia and love the guy very much. Let the poor guy rest, and also leave Frank & Co. alone. As Frank said last week "Motor racing is a dangerous sport" and there is an unwritten rule in all forms of motor sport that says there is an element of death involved, but that is one of the reasons why these guys get paid so much money.

All credit to the Ayrton Senna Foundation, and I will always buy only ASF merchandise to support the street kids in Sao Paulo. That is the only good thing that came out of Ayrton's death, but he was still raising a great amount of money for the cause before he died anyway.

SimonD



Just a thought with regard to the controversy surrounding the death of Ayrton Senna.

Williams have stated they are not in a position to comment as to the cause of the tragedy until they can gain access to the car. Perhaps I am mistaken but surely the 'T' car would have been configured for Senna and assumedly would have had:

  • identical setup
  • identical steering modifications
  • identical manufactured parts

So are they as much 'in the dark' as they would like us all to believe?

John



Looking at Michael's letter, imagine that you race at a speed of 300 km and you have a useless steering wheel in your hands wouldn't your heartbeat rate increase sharply!

Netan



The crash has troubled me since Sunday 1st May 1994 at 2.17pm. Please someone keep trying to find out why the greatest racing team in the world would allegedly saw a steering column and weld it back so poorly. Who gave the command to cut the column and why would a company whose resources could have manufactured the correct part make such a screwed up part?

SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG HERE. I WON'T REST UNTIL I KNOW THE TRUTH.

Thank you Ayrton Senna Da Silva - in our hearts always.

CW



It was the greatest tragedy I have ever seen. I remember the day he died so clearly. Senna was the greatest driver. Two and a half years later. . . it's just too long to wait for an answer. I just want to know why he died. I just want it all to be over.

Melinda



For legal reasons the following letter was edited.

This is Michael with the telemetry sheet.

Car Type : Williams Renault RS6 V10

Driver : Ayrton Senna da Silva

Heartbeats : Start/finish line 184 beats per minute

Average heart beats per minute : 181

Temperature of tyres : left front = 176 degrees . This tyre was partially flat spotted coming out of the Rivazza on lap 5 so it was a bit lower on temperature.

left rear tyre = 188.9274 degrees

right front tyre = 191.791 degrees

right rear tyre = 190.2137 degrees

Driver heartbeats 5 seconds after start/finish line on lap 7 = 188 beats per minute

8 seconds after start finish line = 190 beats per minute

11 seconds after start/finish line = 196 beats per minute

12.6 seconds after start/finish line = 203 beats per minute

12.8 seconds after start/finish line hits the concrete retaining wall on the right hand side of the circuit and at the time is unconscious. Dies at 6.40 p.m. that same day.

Rear suspension : OK, no problems before 12.6 seconds after start/finish line (lap 7)

front wing : OK, complaint from Senna saying that he needed more downforce on the front rear wing : OK, no problems after start/finish line on lap 7 up to 12.6 seconds

Gearbox and gear-change mechanism : Change down gear change was slightly imbalanced.

note: The temperatures are not as high as were expected because there was (allegedly) a secretly controlled hydraulic power steering.

Accelerator : Excellent condition

Brake pedal : Excellent condition. No signs of sticking anywhere

Brake pads : Excellent condition. Only 0.4 cm wear on left front tyre.

Rest of the brake pads had less than 0.06 cm of wear on them

Fuel : Elf. Had 86 litres of fuel and had planned a two stop race strategy.

Tyres : C compound

Senna's helmet : Bell

Comments:

Front suspension : No problems apart from steering column which was welded at the 23 cm mark because Senna could not see his instrument panel. The steering column was covered with some piping and could not stand the strain of the race? At Tamburello Corner his left front wheel gave up 0.018 seconds before he hit the wall? The steering column is clearly seen after he hit the wall because it could be taken out with out even using the clamp at the back, which holds the steering column in place? He hit the wall at 130 mph or 208 km/h

The steering column split when Senna was trying to turn into a left hander at Tamburello? This was at 192 mph when he turned into the apex itself or 307.2 km/h. The slice in the steering column was half way down the column? These steel column are usually 70 cm long in length but the slices occurred not at the weld itself but half way down the column, which is roughly 35 cm down? The part of the column holding the wheels was completely sliced off apart from a tiny bit that was left holding the wheels?

I got this information from the papers on the length of the steering column etc. The rest of this information I received from ………… when a letter was given to me telling me all the details. This letter was given to me on the 28th August 1995.

I hope I have been some help in the mystery of Ayrton Senna da Silva. All this information that I have given you is the exact information that are on my sheets of paper.

Michael



Senna is 100% at fault for the crash. He was deeply affected by the crash that killed Roland Ratzenberger. His mind was not on the race on that day.

Also, why would Frank Williams kill Senna anyway? He had three pole positions out of three races. Senna just couldn't finish the race because of his incompetence. I don't think that Frank Williams is that ruthless.

I'm looking forward to finding out what you think.

Jeff



The Senna tragedy shouldn't be another JFK incident creating paranoia for another Oliver Stone movie. Instead, Senna's unmatched skill brought the sport to a higher plane. His death and hence the sealing of Senna as a legend is the price that we all pay.

Ed W



Wake up and smell the coffee

Are you guy's for real? Let the greatest driver in history rest. What is there to be gained, I mean the man is dead! And that story of the woman who has solemnly said she will inform wives of the actual events. Oh yeah right that's all we need some woman explaining where it all went wrong.

Please get a life and support some of the new-comers in the sport. Why not try to make sure this will never happen again.

Phil



Hi, friends of Senna

I'm a Senna 'lover from Brazil and I've following his career since the beginning. I thought that this site is really great and helpful for us and for public opinion that is not conscious and aware of what this tragedy represents. Most people know things shown by the media, but it's not all true or complete.

On account of all this, I liked this site. I would like to be noticed about any complement you make or any other thing about Senna, maybe a list of sites or another thing you consider interesting.

Thanks and congratulations,

Simone



Keep up the good work. Finally a place where the real information can be disseminated. I'll keep reading this page for the latest info.

Stephen


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