- Historical event:
- 1 May 1994
- He hit a concrete wall at a speed of 310 km/h, which led to the separation of the right-front wheel, which in turn struck Senna’s helmet. His head was forced back against the head rest, causing a fatal skull fracture.
On this day the famous Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna was killed during the race for the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
It happened on the track in Imola, Italy, a small town 40 kilometers from Bologna and 80 kilometers from the Ferrari factory in Maranello.
Ayrton Senna began the race from the first starting position. After seven laps, in the notorious Tamburello corner, he flew off the track at a speed of 310 km/h. His car crashed into a concrete wall, leading to the separation of the right-front wheel, which struck Senna’s helmet. His head was forced back against the head rest, causing a fatal skull fracture.
The race was stopped.
The doctor who soon arrived could, just by looking at Senna’s pupils, recognize that he suffered fatal brain damage. However, he was transported by helicopter to a hospital, where they could only declare him dead.
Tamburello corner, where he died, was for years reputed as one of the most dangerous in Formula 1. Nelson Piquet, Gerhard Berger, Michele Alboreto, and Riccardo Patrese were all injured in that same corner, though none of them fatally.
After Senna’s death that corner was transformed into a chicane, which requires slowing of the car and thus eliminates accidents.
Luckily, since Senna’s death in 1994 onwards, no other Formula 1 driver was killed, even though two officials were killed at the track (in 2000 and 2001).