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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Imola - May 1, 1994

May 1st marks the anniversary of Ayrton Senna's death and tonight, I decided to remember him in a bit of an unusual way - by putting on the Senna biopic and inviting my parents to join me. In an effort to convey the story the best I could, I paused the movie every now and again to reiterate the importance of select moments that made Senna a legend. In total, the duration of Senna is about 2 hours and 40 minutes. It probably took us three-and-a-half.

Unlike racing fans that remember Senna best from his shear talent behind the wheel, my parents were more captivated of Senna's moments before the start of his last race. There was a dark cloud that hung over Formula 1 and a general, unspoken uneasiness that had overwhelmed everyone at Imola.

Ratzenberger's death that weekend was the first fatal accident to occur since 1982. It was also the first time in a whole generation that the paddock had experienced a casualty from the sport. Pre-race footage on that fateful day captured a lot of moments where mechanics sat in silence, staring expressionless at the floor, reflecting. In contrast, there was a keen expression on Ayrton Senna's face, while occasionally passing forced grins to his team in a feeble attempt to hide his anxiety. He sat in silence, waiting, as if he knew something would happen to him too.

Nothing's changed. My parents still haven't the slightest interest in motor racing and likely never will. However, they, too, have become admirers of Ayrton Senna.

I couldn't resist; here's the on-board footage of Senna flying through a lap of Monaco:

Interview with Gerhard Berger following Roland Ratzinberger's death:

A furled Austrian flag was found in the Williams when the medical staff extracted Senna from the broken racing car. Senna would have raised it in honour of Ratzenberger after the race.

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