Alonso and Raikkonen pay respects to Senna and Ratzenberger

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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.

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

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