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#1 DRSdisabled

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 23:39

Some interesting fresh evidence / observations in this new book http://bit.ly/1g7Ozwr
Among other things, looks like a car can suffer a steering failure and still twitch left and right.

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#2 sennafan24

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 02:00

Interesting.

 

I reached the conclusion a long time ago that we will simply never know for sure what caused the crash. The only things I do believe about the tragic accident is that it was not part of some far-out conspiracy, and it is probable that it was a mechanical error and not driver error.



#3 arttidesco

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 08:52

If the chassis of the car comes into contact with the surface of the road it will suffer a partial steering failure as the steering through the wheels will be diminished, in this situation the car may still be sensitive to any variation in load through the rear tyres as it will be to any variation in the surface of the road which is in contact with the chassis. Hardly any mystery at all really.



#4 f1steveuk

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:05

As I have said before,  part of my job within Formula One Management, was accident investigation, though obviously in the case of Senna's I couldn't be involved. I did however see alot of the evidence later, and saw the chassis while it was still stored in the garages under the grandstand at Imola.

 

I would stake a very large sum of money (and I am not a betting man) that the steering wheel failure happened in the impact, as did a lot of damage within the steering mechanism, not least of which was the separation of the right hand front wheel.  What was also obvious was the enourmous amount of wear of the front skid blocks, prior to hitting the curb and running over the grass, which would indicate the were in contact with the ground, and heavily, prior to leaving the track. I am prevented from posting the pictures I took, but all this talk of a bodged steering modification is rubbish.


Edited by f1steveuk, 20 February 2014 - 10:28.


#5 275 GTB-4

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:16

So Steve, please have some sympathy for fans who were horrified at the time and are still concerned that something like this could and will happen again....

 

Are you allowed an opinion? Can you postulate?

 

Was it a suspension failure? Driveshaft? or something else that made the car squat down at the rear and lose steering?

 

RIP Ayrton..


Edited by 275 GTB-4, 20 February 2014 - 09:16.


#6 kayemod

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:15


Was it a suspension failure? Driveshaft? or something else that made the car squat down at the rear and lose steering?

 

RIP Ayrton..

 

Cold tyres, ride height set too low.



#7 f1steveuk

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:31

Cold tyres, ride height set too low.

Couldn't have put it better myself! Slightly more to it, but in essence spot on.



#8 Tuboscocca

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 12:34

Some interesting fresh evidence / observations in this new book http://bit.ly/1g7Ozwr
Among other things, looks like a car can suffer a steering failure and still twitch left and right.

Sorry, have no itunes...pdf can't be opened (multiple-failure)..Does anyone know of a printed version of this book??

 

Michael (very much 'old world')



#9 sennafan24

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 12:57

As I have said before,  part of my job within Formula One Management, was accident investigation, though obviously in the case of Senna's I couldn't be involved. I did however see alot of the evidence later, and saw the chassis while it was still stored in the garages under the grandstand at Imola.

 

I would stake a very large sum of money (and I am not a betting man) that the steering wheel failure happened in the impact, as did a lot of damage within the steering mechanism, not least of which was the separation of the right hand front wheel.  What was also obvious was the enourmous amount of wear of the front skid blocks, prior to hitting the curb and running over the grass, which would indicate the were in contact with the ground, and heavily, prior to leaving the track. I am prevented from posting the pictures I took, but all this talk of a bodged steering modification is rubbish.

Interesting, thanks for posting that.

 

Most theories I have read have tendered to lean towards the steering column failing. In recent times the "cold tyre" theory has been picking up a lot of steam, a poster who I have a huge amount of respect for on another forum supports that theory. Given your experience as well, it is a theory that is hard to ignore. I know you said there was "more to it" than that, just so we are clear that I am not taking you out of context.

 

The Williams car at the start of 1994 before the accident was a very inconsistent car. Newey himself said recently that Senna took that car to places it had no right to go (The first race of 1994 he was a staggering 1 lap ahead of his teammate before he pushed too hard). Newey also contests that updates after Imola greatly helped the car to become more stable and consistent.

 

Hill said that the car at the start of the year was different lap to lap (although Hill is perhaps the only driver I have read who thinks the accident was caused by driver error ). .



#10 f1steveuk

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 17:06

I don't want to say too much, because I wasn't involved in the actual investigation, but I was from within FOM, so I'm treading lightly here!

 

Yes an inconsistent car, which Hill said at the begining of the year was different lap to lap. A problem with the track, where some resurfacing had been done, maybe leaving it less than perfect, especially slightly off line. Add in coldish tyres, and an extremely low right height. The accident was explained to me simply as, "too fast in, slightly off line, then sliding along the ground on the floor with the accompanying lack of grip...................."



#11 hogstar

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 17:28

I don't want to say too much, because I wasn't involved in the actual investigation, but I was from within FOM, so I'm treading lightly here!

 

Yes an inconsistent car, which Hill said at the begining of the year was different lap to lap. A problem with the track, where some resurfacing had been done, maybe leaving it less than perfect, especially slightly off line. Add in coldish tyres, and an extremely low right height. The accident was explained to me simply as, "too fast in, slightly off line, then sliding along the ground on the floor with the accompanying lack of grip...................."

 

 

In simple terms, Senna drove too fast for the conditions in a 'nervous' FW16, coupled with being extremely unlucky on impact. I thought that from the time it happened and so much rubbish has been written about that day - and will continue to be written - it just drags the tragic event on and on. 

 

Steering column failure is just people looking for excuses. I was one of those F1 fans at the time waiting inevitably for Senna to be killed because if you consistently drive a car beyond the limits - especially a far from sorted car like the FW16 was at that time - you are dancing with the devil. Senna sadly paid the ultimate price. 



#12 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 20:19

From what I heard during the post-event analysis I concur absolutely with Steve's recollection. I think the only real mystery here is - time after time - how attractive alternative history seems to be to new-generation audiences. The factor in Senna's fatality that never seems to have been adequately explored, and perhaps held up for real scrutiny, is the role of the FIA track inspector in accepting an entirely unprotected vertical-face wall on the outside flank of - not a gravel catch-trap bordering such a high-speed and demanding curve - but instead a hard surfaced concrete run-off There was nothing there to decelerate a wayward car...nothing at all, before impact against that wall. I have always considered such lack of imagination unacceptable by the standards of that time. No revisionist view, this one...

DCN

#13 Mallory Dan

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 21:27

Shouldn't the drivers have been more careful there, then Doug?



#14 kayemod

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 21:29

Shouldn't the drivers have been more careful there, then Doug?

 

That sounds like Sir Stirling talking.



#15 D-Type

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 21:47

Let's not forget the way Italian law works.  They seem to always look for a scapegoat.  Once the news of the broken steering surfaced, the Williams team closed ranks to protect their team principals from the threat of jail.  This led to allegations of a cover up and on from there to some sort of conspiracy.



#16 sennafan24

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 22:43

In simple terms, Senna drove too fast for the conditions in a 'nervous' FW16, coupled with being extremely unlucky on impact. I thought that from the time it happened and so much rubbish has been written about that day - and will continue to be written - it just drags the tragic event on and on. 

 

Steering column failure is just people looking for excuses. I was one of those F1 fans at the time waiting inevitably for Senna to be killed because if you consistently drive a car beyond the limits - especially a far from sorted car like the FW16 was at that time - you are dancing with the devil. Senna sadly paid the ultimate price

f1Steveuk - I will not press you any further, thanks for sharing what you did.

 

I think some people dismiss driver error too defensively. However, there are people with credibility that present arguments that it was not 100% driver error. Prost for example believes that it was a mechanical failure of sorts, and Prost is as well qualified as anyone in my opinion.

 

Again, Senna did push too hard with the Williams in Brazil which resulted in retirement, so it is entirely possible. But as others have noted, the corner where Senna crashed is not normally one where drivers would make a mistake. I agree there was a lot of rubbish about. I have read some far out stuff in the darker resources of the web, that does not need to be stated here. 

 

If it was proven 100% that its was driver error, I would still consider Senna to be my idol and the greatest driver in my lifetime (so far). So, I do not believe that the accident defines the mans career.



#17 GD66

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 00:41

As you pointed out earlier, SF24, we will never know. I felt watching it happen that it looked as though it bottomed out and, already being on the limit, the sudden reduction in downforce was enough to spit the thing off the road.

Still haven't read anything to alter my recollection of this most unfortunate of possible outcomes. I am a track inspector for motorcycle racing and one of our parameters is to consider the consequence of a rider running off the track : as Doug has outlined, at that time the outside of Tamburello was a scary place, but I found Berger's crash there in 1989 much more alarming at first view, yet he was fortunate and escaped relatively scot-free. For me the concern is that five years later the wall on the outside of the corner was still considered acceptable in more-or-less that same format.


Edited by GD66, 21 February 2014 - 00:42.


#18 gold333

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:24


If it was proven 100% that its was driver error, I would still consider Senna to be my idol and the greatest driver in my lifetime (so far). So, I do not believe that the accident defines the mans career.

Agreed. It seems to be the "in" thing on Autosport forums to dislike Senna. As if that were to offer a status of distinction.

Often I hear Senna's "dubious" sportsmanship mentioned in the same sentence as Schumacher crashing into Hill, Villeneuve, parking it on track during Monaco qualifying, etc. As if the ethics of both men were one and the same.

Yet in my view the difference was that Senna was never the first to resort to such moves autonomously. It was always in revenge for what (in his presumption) was an act done against him to which he was powerless. '89 japan, the $100,000 fine, stripping of championship win, etc. Everyone has their own opinion and mine is that Senna was a good man, had good, calmed down, sporting ethics (from F1 onwards) until you did something which he felt was unjust, then everything was permitted. : '90 Suzuka.

That he was a private philanthropist with donations numbering in the tens of millions of dollars, which were done completely in secret, discovered only after his death says enough about the man's character to me.

His car control being bulletproof the accident came as that more of a shock.

In any case his was a life that one can aspire to. From beginning to end, one goal with no distractions. What other F1 driver has died leading an F1 race? In addition modesty even in superstardom, he reminds me of Jim Clark in a way.

This book is the single most detailed piece of work regarding his accident though, the detail amazed me. (And I'm the author of most of the wiki article on Senna and the author of the full FW16, 15D, 15C and 14 articles.)

Edited by gold333, 21 February 2014 - 01:24.


#19 sennafan24

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:55

Agreed. It seems to be the "in" thing on Autosport forums to dislike Senna. As if that were to offer a status of distinction.

Often I hear Senna's "dubious" sportsmanship mentioned in the same sentence as Schumacher crashing into Hill, Villeneuve, parking it on track during Monaco qualifying, etc. As if the ethics of both men were one and the same.

Yet in my view the difference was that Senna was never the first to resort to such moves autonomously. It was always in revenge for what (in his presumption) was an act done against him to which he was powerless. '89 japan, the $100,000 fine, stripping of championship win, etc. Everyone has their own opinion and mine is that Senna was a good man, had good, calmed down, sporting ethics (from F1 onwards) until you did something which he felt was unjust, then everything was permitted. : '90 Suzuka.

That he was a private philanthropist with donations numbering in the tens of millions of dollars, which were done completely in secret, discovered only after his death says enough about the man's character to me.

I pretty much agree with this. I have not been a member of the forum long enough to experience much dissent thrown Senna's way. I think when someone is celebrated to the degree Senna has the past few years (with the movie, which I thought was stunning), people will naturally be more vocal in voicing opinions against that person. Its just natural, and not something as a Senna fan I am that bothered about. If you watch the SENNA film under the "cinema version" and not the "full version", Prost does get a raw deal if I am fair. 

 

I am not going to touch on what Schumi did on track during this difficult time. I cannot see any good in discussing Jerez 1997 or Australia 1994 with the current tragic circumstances that surround Schumi and his family. Not having a go at you, just my own thoughts.

 

As far as Senna's acts go, I have never condoned what Senna did at Japan 1990, nor have I ever condone what I believe Prost did at Japan 1989. I will say that I think both are nice men (your reasons you gave for thinking so highly of Senna reflect my own), who let their competitiveness get the better of them. I agree there were reasons behind what Senna did, as there was Prost if I am fair. I am a Senna fan (check my username  ;) ) so I will see it more from his side, but I get the other side of the argument and have a great deal of respect and admiration for Prost (and Schumi for that matter)

 

But yeah, in the words of Mika "I put Senna number 1 you know, he was definitely greatest driver" 



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#20 DRSdisabled

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 10:15

From what I heard during the post-event analysis I concur absolutely with Steve's recollection. I think the only real mystery here is - time after time - how attractive alternative history seems to be to new-generation audiences. The factor in Senna's fatality that never seems to have been adequately explored, and perhaps held up for real scrutiny, is the role of the FIA track inspector in accepting an entirely unprotected vertical-face wall on the outside flank of - not a gravel catch-trap bordering such a high-speed and demanding curve - but instead a hard surfaced concrete run-off There was nothing there to decelerate a wayward car...nothing at all, before impact against that wall. I have always considered such lack of imagination unacceptable by the standards of that time. No revisionist view, this one...

DCN

Naturally, people have their favourite explanation, put forward some facts to justify it, and then tend to dismiss the alternatives. What I think is refreshing about this particular book is that it critically analyses the five most plausible hypotheses and it looks at all the facts and new insights before trying to reach a conclusion (which, in the end, it really doesn't).

 

@f1steveuk: what do you make of Chapter 13, which discusses oversteer/bottoming/aerodynamics?

 

@ Doug Nye: it seems to me that there is a large body of evidence that makes alternative history at least credible (Chapter 14)

 

Re: unprotected vertical-face wall - hindsight is a great thing. I’m sure somebody will argue in year 2034 that there should have been a barrier between the two slopes to prevent Schumacher going off-piste and hitting his head on a rock...



#21 gold333

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:09

Fwiw:

I've run the accident on a simulator, and my head did the exact same repetitive bobbing to the left.

94 Tamburello was so narrow (9 m I believe) and the speed and G so high, that any unbalance which alters (yaws) your direction towards the outer wall, you instinctively know there is not enough track to correct the car and your head starts bobbing left in a "make this corner darnit" kind of way.

After a split second you realise: Full braking with front wheels dead straight is the only instinctive solution.

Why he went off I have no idea, but that I instinctively had the exact same head motion surprised me. Before then I thought it was due to external forces, centrifugal force, etc, but it isn't.

Edited by gold333, 21 February 2014 - 12:12.


#22 ensign14

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:18

The factor in Senna's fatality that never seems to have been adequately explored, and perhaps held up for real scrutiny, is the role of the FIA track inspector in accepting an entirely unprotected vertical-face wall on the outside flank of - not a gravel catch-trap bordering such a high-speed and demanding curve - but instead a hard surfaced concrete run-off There was nothing there to decelerate a wayward car...nothing at all, before impact against that wall. I have always considered such lack of imagination unacceptable by the standards of that time. No revisionist view, this one...

Isn't that similar though to concrete ovals? Someone crashing there was likely to give the wall a glancing blow rather than a full head-on impact. Berger had a worse accident there a few years before and survived. Senna was unlucky that a bit of suspension flew off at just the wrong speed and angle - had that not happened, how badly would he have been injured?

#23 ensign14

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:24

Yet in my view the difference was that Senna was never the first to resort to such moves autonomously. It was always in revenge for what (in his presumption) was an act done against him to which he was powerless.


What had Martin Brundle done to him then? Or Sandro Nannini? Or, even, Eddie Irvine? Senna, it seemed to me, always expected the droit du seigneur and if someone had the audacity to challenge that could not be tolerated; even the Prost move in 1989 was perhaps the Frenchman snapping after one too many bits of brutality - q.v. Estoril when Senna nearly put Prost into the pit barrier. "But I am Senna."

#24 PayasYouRace

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:48

I'll give that a read when I get home, but I might as well declare my thoughts prior.

 

Most discussions of this topic seem to degenerate into talk of the man himself, and often with efforts to either deify or demonise him. I'd like to avoid that and stick to talk of the accident. But as a result my information on the crash hasn't really changed from the very little I learned about it 10 years ago.

 

I was watching the occasional bit of F1 back then, but I have no memories of Imola 94, so I suspect I wasn't watching. It wasn't until 1996 that I remember paying attention to the entire season.

 

I've always gone with the steering failure explanation as it seems to fit with the basic behaviour of the car in the crash. Another kind of mechanical failure, resulting in bottoming out, could also result in a similar looking crash, so while it's my less favoured explanation I can't rule it out.

I think the phrase driver error gets thrown around a lot but masks a lot of subtleties. No F1 driver would have made a mistake driving that corner because it was so easy. However, that's only if the car was working properly. The "mistake" could be in the sense that he didn't anticipate that the car might bottom out coming off the SC phase, and might have needed just a a minor lift or something. I still think it's unlikely because I doubt he drove the corner that differently to the previous lap when he made it through OK.

 

The other thing is that it happened so fast, and often we're shown slow-mo footage. That used to catch me out in my analysis. Really, whatever happened when he lost it, there was no time to really do anything before hitting the wall. I'm reminded of crashes at Indy when I watch it.

 

The worst thing for me was the freakish nature of what killed him. A slightly different angle and he might have been OK.



#25 Mallory Dan

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 13:32

gold333. Did you ever see him in Ff1600 in 1981...? As Ens says above, he had form for dubious tactics from the word go. Ask Rick Morris.



#26 sennafan24

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 13:47

 even the Prost move in 1989 was perhaps the Frenchman snapping after one too many bits of brutality - q.v. Estoril when Senna nearly put Prost into the pit barrier. "But I am Senna."

I am not going to condone what Senna did at Estoril, but it was in retaliation for Prost almost pushing Senna on to the grass at the start of the race.The Irvine incident, was also provoked in Senna's mind (and stirred up greatly by Berger I should add). I would advise anyone who takes the Irvine incident seriously to consider how daft it all was.

 

Senna for better or worse, did popularize the "I am going to put you in a position where I pass or we crash mentality", as Brundle noted. That was his mind-set on the track, which did calm down a bit after the best of 11 points dynamic was dropped in 1990 (and after Japan 1990). 

 

The incidents where he attacked a driver personally, like Prost and Irvine were down to being provoked. Incidents like the one with Brundle was a result of his general mind-set towards racing.



#27 kayemod

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 14:06

I am not going to condone what Senna did at Estoril, but it was in retaliation for Prost almost pushing Senna on to the grass at the start of the race.The Irvine incident, was also provoked in Senna's mind (and stirred up greatly by Berger I should add). I would advise anyone who takes the Irvine incident seriously to consider how daft it all was.

 

Senna for better or worse, did popularize the "I am going to put you in a position where I pass or we crash mentality", as Brundle noted. That was his mind-set on the track, which did calm down a bit after the best of 11 points dynamic was dropped in 1990 (and after Japan 1990). 

 

The incidents where he attacked a driver personally, like Prost and Irvine were down to being provoked. Incidents like the one with Brundle was a result of his general mind-set towards racing.

 

"For better or worse." Are you serious? Even for a terminally blinkered fanboy which I hope you're not, what could possibly be "better" about it? In my mind, the claim that most of Senna's bad moves were in retaliation for some real or imagined slight in a past race make them much, much worse. I'm not questioning the man's undoubted talent, but to me that's evidence of a serious personality disorder, a fairly desperate insecurity complex at the very least.



#28 PCC

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 14:07

Re: unprotected vertical-face wall - hindsight is a great thing.

Possibly a plausible defence before Berger's accident, but five year after?



#29 PCC

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 14:18

In my mind, the claim that most of Senna's bad moves were in retaliation for some real or imagined slight in a past race make them much, much worse.

I have to agree. There are some here who knew the man and I am not one of them, so I probably shouldn't go this far, but... to me, the worst of his behavior suggests a self-belief that was pathological in its magnitude. At times, affirmation of his infallibility seemed to trump every consideration of decency, ethics, and safety. That his motivation was vengeance makes it worse, not better. Can you imaging taking that defence to court?

 

I am also aware that he could be warm, generous, and caring. And he was staggeringly talented. A complicated man.



#30 sennafan24

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 14:22

"For better or worse." Are you serious? Even for a terminally blinkered fanboy which I hope you're not, what could possibly be "better" about it? In my mind, the claim that most of Senna's bad moves were in retaliation for some real or imagined slight in a past race make them much, much worse. I'm not questioning the man's undoubted talent, but to me that's evidence of a serious personality disorder, a fairly desperate insecurity complex at the very least.

I am trying to stay on the fence and not upset, as we are discussing the death of a man and I know how these fanboy debates can get personal. It was just a term of phrase I was using. Of course I do not think that way is for the "better" as I underlined several times before I did not "condone" Senna's serious actions.

 

How do you figure that Senna retaliating for his perception of being wronged is worse though? Surely it would be as equally wrong if he just rammed people off track (like he did with Prost in 1990) for no reason at all.



#31 kayemod

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 14:23

...to me, the worst of his behavior suggests a self-belief that was pathological in its magnitude. At times, affirmation of his infallibility seemed to trump every consideration of decency, ethics, and safety. That his motivation was vengeance makes it worse, not better. Can you imaging taking that defence to court?

 

 

You can do that kind of thing when you have God on your side, or at any rate when you think you have.



#32 PCC

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 14:26

Surely it would be as equally wrong if he just rammed people off track (like he did with Prost in 1990) for no reason at all.

I disagree. People who commit violent acts because they think Truth is on their side are exceptionally dangerous. They end up doing truly nasty things like flying airplanes into buildings. I'm certainly not saying Senna was on a level with that, but that's where that kind of mindset can ultimately lead.



#33 sennafan24

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 14:29

I disagree. People who commit violent acts because they think Truth is on their side are exceptionally dangerous. They end up doing truly nasty things like flying airplanes into buildings. I'm certainly not saying Senna was on a level with that, but that's where that kind of mindset can ultimately lead.

Ah right, I see the logic now, and can agree with it to a degree.

 

Again though, I could argue the amount of serial killer who kill people for no good reason and are basic drones whilst committing their actions, but that would be another debate for another forum.



#34 f1steveuk

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 15:36

As regards the wall, it still staggers me that it is felt to be "ok". I speak from experience here. A man was killed at Nogaro, coming out of the hairpin, loosing control, and hitting an unprotected wall. Within months, my friend Soames Langton hit the very same wall, still unprotected. A single layer of tyres would have created a far different outcome. It seems unbelievable that some lessons are never learnt.

 

Having studied more accidents than I would have liked (and learning that while being paid to do so, one has to separate one's self from those involved), it is rare that the dynamics of an accident will duplicate another, though some will be close. Look at Berger and Senna at the same corner, a slight change in dynamics, a totally different outcome.

 

One factor that no one considers in the Senna incident, is that the FW16 inherited an aerodynamic stall around the difuser. Originally used to stall the difuser of the FW15 via active suspension, to gain straight line speed, a "re-active" version was used on the FW16, a car designed to use active control before the rule changes.Like a lot of "new" ideas, it was unpredictable in it's early days. It was part of the cars inherent problems, which the new front wing first fitted at Imola, actually made slightly worse.

 

I have read chapter 13, and also the steering failure section. The author admits he has never seen either the steering wheel or the steering shaft itself. I have, and it is plainly a shear fracture, not surprising when you see how close to the bush/mounting the failure occured and when you realise the fracture suggests a moment on the steering wheel, up and away from the wall (e.g to the left and up of the chassis). The author also ignores the fact that Damon and David Coulthard stated that the wheel did have that degree of movement in it when driven over bumps. He also admits he does not know where the sensors on the steering (for input) were, so how can he suggest the shaft's partial failure before impact. The read outs show perfectly normal inputs and reactions up and including the impact. A partially sheared shaft would not have done that, and a driver, and I suggest nearly all drivers that make it into F1, have that extra sensative touch/feel, that any partial failure would have been felt through the steering wheel. As an illustration, I know one F1 driver who complained that he could hear/sense a noise/vibration, but couldn't identify it. He was sent out again, but still complained about it. It turned out to be a twig stuck in the underfloor, rubbing on the the road surface. A steering wheel not transfering input to the road wheels I suggest, would have made even the most confident driver back off way before a corner or curve.

 

The evidence pints simply to what has been said, too fast, too low, and all that those lead to.

 

As for Senna the man, he once said to Bernard Dudot, "I can drive like I do because it's not my time". If you believe that everyday, one day, you WILL be caught out!


Edited by f1steveuk, 21 February 2014 - 16:11.


#35 JtP2

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 18:05

The problem I have with Senna is summed up in some of his actions, which make any complaints about Schumacher pale into insignificance. Is that listening to most of his later in ]nterviews is like listening to Col. Kurtz and people mistake borderline lunacy for some sort of esoteric mysticism in driving a F1 car.



#36 sennafan24

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 18:33

 people mistake borderline lunacy for some sort of esoteric mysticism in driving a F1 car.

Depends on your interpretation of things. I have no problem with people not liking Senna, or hating some of his actions, but I do not agree with the attitude of "how can you like this man" that some have. People will interpret people and actions in different ways.

 

Yes, Japan 1990 there was no interpretation, it was a very dangerous and unjustifiable thing to do. There were reasons behind it that some thought were not a fragment of his imagination (not in terms of what he did in response before someone jumps in, I mean some did have sympathy for what happened at Japan 1989, and the pole spot being moved in Japan 1990)

 

I actually think most of his interviews were straight to the point and pretty normal. I hardly thought they were the ramblings of a mad man. Yes, he was a very intense man, perhaps too intense at times (Berger was meant to be a godsend for loosening him up). I admire him for being so passionate about what he did.

 

If anyone slags Senna again you have been warned.   ;)  - 

 

Again, I am not going to discuss Schumacher in this thread due to the delicate situation elsewhere.


Edited by sennafan24, 21 February 2014 - 18:39.


#37 Michael Ferner

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 18:39

listening to most of his later interviews is like listening to Col. Kurtz and people mistake borderline lunacy for some sort of esoteric mysticism in driving a F1 car.

 

Perfect! :up:



#38 Tim Murray

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 18:48

... and the pole spot being moved in Japan 1990

The pole spot wasn't moved in 1990 - it was where it had been in all the previous championship Japanese GPs. It was moved in 1991.



#39 sennafan24

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 18:53

The pole spot wasn't moved in 1990 - it was where it had been in all the previous championship Japanese GPs. It was moved in 1991.

I forgot it was never officially moved, just that the stewards agreed then it remained due to the injunction.

 

"Senna secured the pole, but was unhappy with the side of the track it was situated on, claiming that pole should always be on the racing line. He and Gerhard Berger then went to the Japanese stewards, to request a change of position of pole to the cleaner left side of the track. The stewards initially agreed but an injunction by FISA president Jean Marie Balestre later that night rejected the decision and the original pole position remained on the dirtier, less grippy right side of the track."



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#40 CSquared

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 19:31

To me, Occam's razor has always pointed to the steering column breaking. Basic facts of the case:
- Steering column was shoddily modified.
- Steering wheel was seen to be moving unnaturally seconds before the accident.
- Car very suddenly lost all steering and went straight on in a place where no other car on any lap the whole weekend had any problem whatsoever.
- Steering column was found sheared right where the shoddy modification was done.
 
Then, the most thorough and professional investigations that I know of (Bologna University) concluded it was steering column failure.
 
In most situations everyone would've said, "Wow, the steering column broke," and moved on. This situation and its discussions, however, are greatly complicated by these and other factors:
- It resulted in a high-profile fatality.
- There were court cases. People were put on trial, evidence mysteriously disappeared (a point that is also mysteriously ignored), a lot of asses had to be covered. Because of the legal aspect, a lot of what many people said cannot be taken at face value and a lot of information probably never came to light at all.
- The person involved was one of the most polarizing in the sport. Many idolize him, many (like most of TNF) demonize him. Some don't want to entertain the possibility of driver error, while some rub their hands in glee at the chance to say he was foolish and reckless and made a fatal mistake. 
 
It's because of those factors that we've gotten all these other theories that, in my opinion, make little to no sense: tires that go cold after setting one of the fastest laps of the race on full tanks, phantom bumps that effect only a single car on a single lap, a car that has a one-time reaction to a bump not seen on any other car ever, understeer that's not understeer, oversteer that's not oversteer, etc.
 
I haven't read this book/article yet, but I will try to.
 


#41 ron54

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 20:14

I have a copy of The Sunday Times Magazine of Feb 1997. It includes an article recalling this sad event,is anyone familiar with
it,and the "new" evidence it apparently uncovered?

Please don't shoot the messenger I have no view either way,I merely save things I have an interest in....Phill.

#42 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 21:32

If the car bottomed heavily enough it would be the equivalent of dry hydroplaning. The unloading of the wheels.

 

Which would:

-Cause the car to shoot off the corner

-Give the weird helmet tilt everyone was so hung up on

-Give the weird steering movement everyone was so hung up on



#43 JtP2

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 00:23

One thing which is not considered is the power steering. I came across in one book (Chris Hilton?) a comment that the chassis data logger was destroyed, but the engine one survived. The pressure in the hydraulic system was recorded and working from memory, it went up then dropped suddenly rose again to way above normal and then fell to zero. This seems like a sticking pressure relief valve and would cause some very odd things with the steering. I used to run a BX and pushing it round a roundabout with the pump belt slipping gave some really odd steering as the steering pressure altered with the slippage, the accumulator sphere was on its last legs which makes the problem worse.

 

So as Senna  enters the corner, the pressure goes up so he ends up with more steering input than required. The pressure drops and he uses increased force to turn the car as the pressure spikes and ends up with more lock than required. The pressure then drops to zero, giving no assistance in getting the lock off, but the front has already broken away from the excessive slip angle of the front tyres. And that's why in some film the car seems to have a lot off lock on heading for the wall. The car hits the wall at the wrong angle with the excessive steering lock, which helps break the suspension.

 

Remember that the slowest car ever to hit that wall was Senna's.



#44 gold333

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 01:22

I don't know.

Living on the edge routinely gives you an altered sense of reality though. I race 1000cc sports bikes and have broken my back, my arm and my head and have been airlifted to hospital in a helicopter in a coma. I still ride.

Your perception of danger changes. Like the two deep sea oilrig divers I heard discussing a "practical joke" in a pub. One had pulled the air hose out of his friends suit at 500m (1500ft) of depth.

I can well imagine Senna, having had his Championship (lets assume his mindset for a moment=) completely and unjustifiably taken away from him by the "system" in 1989, Crashing into Prost in 1990.

I don't condone it but I understand it. Having been through what I have been through I almost feel a sort of numbness to the dangers involved in controlled collissions on a racetrack. Righting an instance of being wronged in heated revenge seems very plausible to me having lived at speed on a racetrack.

Again, I can't ignore the most telling aspect of Senna's character, when I compare what percentage of his personal fortune he donated (completely in secret) to charities of his choice (donations numbering tens of millions of dollars), with my own donations so far out of my own personal wealth to charity. When considering that, pretty much all that needs to be said about the man's character becomes superfluous to me. There is nothing else that needs to be proven.

In addition to that the fact that I cannot recall anyone post 1980 actually stopping out on track to help out a crashed driver by preventing his presumably fragile injured neck from making movements that would be life threatening.

In essence he was a man that did not tolerate being treated with injustice ( no matter how objective or subjective third party commenters might label his interpretation of events). He simply did not accept being messed with, and that is a character trait which I personally certainly share with him, and most probably would have acted identically had I been in his shoes in the events that unfolded in his life.

Obviously, dying out on track while leading a race adds a sense of mysticism to any drivers legacy. One that a less knowledgeable fan might take to heart without necessarily being aware of the full facts. While voicing an at times very expressive fan boyish opinion.

I saw Senna crash live in 1994 and to me he will remain foremost a human who made the occasional mistake, but besides that one of the most gifted and dedicated F1 drivers in history who when he felt he had been wronged, would retaliate with any means at his disposal out of a unique sense of personal justice.

Edited by gold333, 22 February 2014 - 01:27.


#45 sennafan24

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 02:14

Again, I can't ignore the most telling aspect of Senna's character, when I compare what percentage of his personal fortune he donated (completely in secret) to charities of his choice (donations numbering tens of millions of dollars), with my own donations so far out of my own personal wealth to charity. When considering that, pretty much all that needs to be said about the man's character becomes superfluous to me. There is nothing else that needs to be proven.
 

What about Jimmy Saville   ;)

 

But seriously, I pretty much agree with most of your post. I can understand why Senna did what he did at Japan 1990 and I have never competed in motor sport at all, but like yourself do not condone what he did. I also do not think it defines his entire life, I am glad you brought up the incident where he ran from his car to help Eric Comas.

 

I think CSquared summed it up he is a very "polarizing character". 



#46 D-Type

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 08:40

This thread is splitting into two distinct themes.

 

(a)    Senna's last accident

(b)    Senna's character

 

Can I respectfully suggest that we confine this thread to Item (a) and in particular anything said in the new book.  If anybody wishes to discuss his character could they revive one of the previous threads on the topic



#47 kayemod

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 09:09

This thread is splitting into two distinct themes.

 

(a)    Senna's last accident

(b)    Senna's character

 

Can I respectfully suggest that we confine this thread to Item (a) and in particular anything said in the new book.  If anybody wishes to discuss his character could they revive one of the previous threads on the topic

 

Don't entirely disagree, but surely those two aspects are inextricably linked?



#48 DRSdisabled

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 09:46

The author also ignores the fact that Damon and David Coulthard stated that the wheel did have that degree of movement in it when driven over bumps. 

Are you suggesting that there was one long bump in Tamburello so that it took Senna nearly 3 seconds to cover at 190mph, with the steering first dropping steadily downwards and then oscillating up and down?

I'm not an expert but I've been watching F1 for about 30 years and I've never seen anything like this.



#49 DRSdisabled

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 10:01

Now with the link

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=OpaMH96Bf8A



#50 f1steveuk

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 10:02

 

To me, Occam's razor has always pointed to the steering column breaking. Basic facts of the case:
- Steering column was shoddily modified.
- Steering wheel was seen to be moving unnaturally seconds before the accident.
- Car very suddenly lost all steering and went straight on in a place where no other car on any lap the whole weekend had any problem whatsoever.
- Steering column was found sheared right where the shoddy modification was done.
 
Then, the most thorough and professional investigations that I know of (Bologna University) concluded it was steering column failure.
 
In most situations everyone would've said, "Wow, the steering column broke," and moved on. This situation and its discussions, however, are greatly complicated by these and other factors:
- It resulted in a high-profile fatality.
- There were court cases. People were put on trial, evidence mysteriously disappeared (a point that is also mysteriously ignored), a lot of asses had to be covered. Because of the legal aspect, a lot of what many people said cannot be taken at face value and a lot of information probably never came to light at all.
- The person involved was one of the most polarizing in the sport. Many idolize him, many (like most of TNF) demonize him. Some don't want to entertain the possibility of driver error, while some rub their hands in glee at the chance to say he was foolish and reckless and made a fatal mistake. 
 
It's because of those factors that we've gotten all these other theories that, in my opinion, make little to no sense: tires that go cold after setting one of the fastest laps of the race on full tanks, phantom bumps that effect only a single car on a single lap, a car that has a one-time reaction to a bump not seen on any other car ever, understeer that's not understeer, oversteer that's not oversteer, etc.
 
I haven't read this book/article yet, but I will try to.
 

 

I can't say I agree with much of that. Who said it was a shoddy mod'?  As for the steering wheels movements, both Hill and Coulthard testified it was normal movement on a bumpy surface. Every metallurgist other than those form Bologna, agreed it was a shear fracture and concured that it was caused in the impact, probably by the shaft being braced against and pushed up and away from the wall. The bends on the edge of the shear agreed with this, and there was no room for it to happen in any other direction. The shaft was mounted in a support bracket, and sheared across the plain of the end of this bracket, a bit of a coincidence for a shoddy repair to fail as a shear, across that very plane? There is no way a driver could use a rigidly mounted steering wheel, the kick back would be appalling, and whereas I understand why the author is making much of the wheels movement, ask yourself, if the shaft had partially sheared, and the driver hadn't noticed it, would it continue to move in the same planes as previously, as in where Senna simply continues to drive, or would it "hinge" on the fracture, thus changing the plane it was moving in, and alerting the driver to a problem, plus the actually fracture would be of a different nature, which would leave a "bend tab". Senna's steering shaft was a perfect shear fracture, as if guilotined by the support bracket, no bend moment at all.

 

This, as for everything else I have stated, track surface (multiple ridges and joints), diffuser stall, inconsistent handling etc etc comes from the reports made, it was part of my job, so I fail to see the confusion, the car was slightly off line, it bottomed out on a bad joint between new and old track surface, the aerodynamics stalled, with a catastrophic loss of downforce and grip made worse by tyres not up to working temperatures, and a driver pushing on sensing a threat from the car behind. There is no evidence what so ever of a mechanical failure prior to the car hitting the wall. All of the "conspiracy" theories started because poor Steve Smith cut the OBC fed (he is still in charge of OBC at FOM), because he made a directorial decision that the predicted change of the lead could better be served using Schumacher's OBC for the pass, as at the time we only had six OBC cameras, and the Senna's feed could be switched to a car further back. What was sadly bad timing now being looked at as "missing evidence". It was a racing accident.


Edited by f1steveuk, 22 February 2014 - 10:14.