Exactly 26 years ago on this day, Formula 1 racing lost one of its brightest stars. Brazilian racing star Ayrton Senna died after crashing into a concrete wall in Imola.
Senna was only 34 and also the favourite to win the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. He was leading the race till he reached the 7th lap. It was then that his Williams Renault went off track and hit a concrete wall at 145 miles per hour speed.
According to reports, Senna was advised not to participate in the race by his friend F1 chief doctor Dr Sid Watkins. The reason was Austrian racer Roland Ratzenberger’s death after crashing into a wall in the qualifying round. Another driver Brazilian Rubens Barrichello was also injured during qualifying.
But Senna insisted on participating in the race. Immediately after the crash, Senna was airlifted to a hospital for treatment. He did not survive.
Staffers found an Austrian flag from his cockpit that day. Senna meant to hoist it in remembrance of Ratzenberger, reported the Evening Standard UK.
When the news of the Brazilian icon’s death spread, motor sports enthusiasts were inconsolable and his homeland saw a three-day mourning being announced.
In his short career, Senna was a three-time world champion and widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time.