The cause of Ayrton Senna’s fatal crash in 1994 will never be truly be known, according to the man who designed the car he was driving.
Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey worked for Williams in 1994 and designed the FW16 which Senna was at the wheel of when it inexplicably veered off the track during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Senna died after his car struck a wall on the outside of the Tamburello corner and part of his front suspension penetrated his crash helmet.
A lengthy investigation after the race focused on a broken steering column as the potential cause of the crash. But Newey, who was cleared along with other Williams team members, said it was possible to know whether or not it was broken before the impact.
“The steering column failure, was it the cause, or did it happen in the accident?” said Newey in an interview with the BBC.
“There is no doubt it was cracked. Equally, all the data, all the circuit cameras, the on-board camera from Michael Schumacher’s car that was following, none of that appears to be consistent with a steering-column failure.”
Newey admitted Senna’s death “still haunts me to this day”. Williams were struggling with their car at the beginning of 1994 but ultimately got on top of the problems and won the constructors’ championship, while Senna’s team mate Damon Hill lost the drivers’ championship following a controversial collision with Schumacher.
“It just seems such a shame and so unfair he [Senna] was in that position,” reflected Newey. “And then, of course, by the time we did get the car sorted, he wasn’t with us any longer.”
The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.
Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.
Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.
Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.
Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.
While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.
Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.
“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”
“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.
Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.
“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”
Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.
But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.