View Full Version : Ayrton Senna death was Williams fault

28th Apr 2014, 13:31
Sorry about the translation - from Speigel this morning.

Hamburg - Adrian Newey has admitted in the online edition of the magazine "auto, motor und sport", that the fatal accident of the three-time Formula 1 World Champion Ayrton Senna 20 years ago at the Grand Prix of San Marino was associated with a design flaw. Newey, at that time the chief designer at the Williams team, said: "I had charged me by the aerodynamics of the car."

Senna had come off on May 1 in the seventh round of the third race of the season in the Tamburello curve of the track and raced at high speed into a concrete wall. About four hours later, he died in a hospital in Bologna.

Newey said now that there had been a problem with the car. "The window to ground clearances, in the work the car was too small. This became clear to us during a test at Nogaro, the Damon Hill conducted before Imola." The track had a lot of bumps as those in Imola.

"I was immediately clear what the problem was our car. The side boxes were too long," the British star designer, who now works at Sebastian Vettel World Champion Team Red Bull reported. "This tore during immersion of the car in front of the air flow in the diffuser off because the front end of the side boxes of the route came too close."

According to the current knowledge of the hear of ridiculous, but "we did not yet have the tools to be seen in the wind tunnel the problem before," he explained. Williams did not make it due to time constraints, to shorten the side boxes before the Grand Prix of San Marino.

dubbleyew eight
28th Apr 2014, 13:41

no car is perfect.
the driver will work with what ever the car gives him. the driver has a lot of feel for what the car will give him.

ayreton was killed by the track design and his speed.
a track designed so that there weren't concrete walls on turns may have achieved a different outcome. who knows? he could have flipped his car inverted and died anyway.

the article was a silly navel gaze that achieves nothing.

28th Apr 2014, 14:19
I thought it was accepted that the steering column had failed?

Lon More
28th Apr 2014, 14:40
No menntion of this anywhere else that I can find, Der Spiegel is about as reliable as the Daily Fail, however there have always been conspiracy theories

The 'Black box' data recorder in the vehicle was unable to provide any information about the accident. Not only did it disappear for about a month before it could be examined, when it re-surfaced, it was smashed beyond repair, possibly with a hammer. Also missing was the last 1.7 seconds of video from Senna's on board camera. This has never been recovered, but may well hold the secret to what really happened on that tragic day.

Telemetry sent into the Williams pits from Senna's car shows Senna lifted off the power slightly just before he left the track. It has been speculated that when the car jumped over the bumps on the track on the previous lap, the partly cracked steering column may have flexed as the car skipped across the bumps. This would have unsettled the car the way Schumacher described in court. The next time he approached the corner, Senna was naturally cautious and lifted off slightly, an action that combined with the rough surface may have caused the loss of traction that sent the car off the track. This was an argument which makes sense, but which was discounted by the prosecution who accused the Williams technicians of falsifying the telemetry readings.

From an interview with Newey in the Guardian in 2011
The honest truth is that no one will ever know exactly what happened. There's no doubt the steering column failed and the big question was whether it failed in the accident or did it cause the accident? It had fatigue cracks and would have failed at some point. There is no question that its design was very poor. However, all the evidence suggests the car did not go off the track as a result of steering column failure."

Newey admits that he has considered the causes of the crash repeatedly over the past 17 years. "If you look at the camera shots, especially from Michael Schumacher's following car, the car didn't understeer off the track. It oversteered which is not consistent with a steering column failure. The rear of the car stepped out and all the data suggests that happened. Ayrton then corrected that by going to 50% throttle which would be consistent with trying to reduce the rear stepping out and then, half-a-second later, he went hard on the brakes. The question then is why did the rear step out? The car bottomed much harder on that second lap which again appears to be unusual because the tyre pressure should have come up by then which leaves you expecting that the right rear tyre probably picked up a puncture from debris on the track. If I was pushed into picking out a single most likely cause that would be it."

Martin Barclay
28th Apr 2014, 14:52
We can speculate endlessly about the cause of the car leaving the road but the essential truth is that the accident was relatively, in Formula One terms, benign. The impact with the wall was very similar to the impacts that Indycars have experienced for years in that it was side on and the energy was disipated by the car sliding along the wall shedding parts. Unfortunately one of those parts was the front wheel with jagged suspension parts attached. The suspension piece hit his helmet at 90 degrees allowing it to penetrate the helmet and inflict the fatal head injury. If it had hit the helmet at a slightly different angle Ayrton would have stepped out of the car with a few bruises.

More than likely the car was running too low due to reduced tyre pressures from running behind the safety car. It bottomed lost downforce, snapped sideways which Ayrton corrected but by then it was on the grass and on the way to the scene of the accident.

28th Apr 2014, 15:32
the car was running too low due to reduced tyre pressures from running behind the safety car. It bottomed lost downforce, snapped sideways which Ayrton corrected but by then it was on the grass and on the way to the scene of the accident.

The steering column failure and Senna's injuries were a consequence of the impact of the crash.