Alonso and Raikkonen pay respects to Senna and Ratzenberger

Leave a comment

Yesterday marked 20 years since the death of Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, just one day after Roland Ratzenberger had been killed during qualifying for the race on the darkest weekend in the history of Formula 1.

In order to commemorate their lives and the anniversary of the weekend, a special event took place at Imola yesterday with one minute of silence being held at Tamburello corner at 2:17pm local time – the exact time and place where Senna had his fatal accident two decades ago.

With the circuit having such an important place in Ferrari’s history, the Italian marque sent a number of its top personnel along to the event including drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. Both paid their respects to Ratzenberger and Senna, with the changes made to the safety standards in the sport in the years since being a lasting legacy of the weekend.

“I had a poster of him up in my bedroom,” Alonso explained when asked about Senna. “The only positive thing to come out of the weekend that took Ayrton and Roland Ratzenberger away from us was that, from then on, safety in Formula 1 improved significantly.

“In fact, we can say that inside our cars there is something of the legacy of Senna and Raztzenberger, because after that terrible 1994, nothing was ever the same again”

Indeed, since that weekend, there have been no driver deaths in Formula 1 despite the likes of Luciano Burti, Robert Kubica and Mark Webber suffering some horrifying accidents.

Raikkonen concurred with his teammate, saying: “Senna was very important for Formula 1, as a driver and a person and his death led to a rapid acceleration in the process of increasing the level of safety in our sport. That has avoided other tragedies from occurring.

“Unfortunately however, one cannot change the past, neither for Ayrton nor for Roland Ratzenberger. The only thing we can do is remember this champion, whose exploits defined the history of Formula 1 for a long time.”

It may have been 20 years since their deaths, but the legacy that both Senna and Ratzenberger have left behind continues to be felt throughout motorsport.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”