Audio: Brian Perkins reading the evening news bulletin at 6 pm on BBC Radio 4 in which the death of Ayrton Senna is announced. (may 1st 1994)
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The Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna has been killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, near Bologna in Italy. He was just 34-years-old.His Williams FW16 Formula One car was travelling at a speed of 192 mph (309 km/h) when it ran wide at a curve and crashed into a concrete wall.
Winner of 41 Grands Prix, Senna was considered the finest motor racing driver of his generation and will be mourned by fans the world over.
Only yesterday, the Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed at nearly the same spot, known as the Tamburello curve. The two tragedies have rocked the racing world – and the people of Brazil who regarded Senna as a demi-god.
“This is the blackest day for Grand Prix racing that I can remember in the many, many years I have been covering the sport,” said veteran BBC sports commentator Murray Walker.
“For there to be two casualties on successive days is quite appalling – and that arguably one of them should be that of the greatest driver that has ever lived in the history of Grand Prix racing makes it doubly so.”
Senna was well-known for his aggressive driving style. In 1989 he collided with French driver Alain Prost in the Japanese Grand Prix. He was disqualified and lost his title. The following year, the same thing happened and this time, Senna went on to win as Prost dropped out. Afterwards he told reporters: “Winning is like a drug. I cannot justify in any circumstances coming second or third.” The cause of the accident remains a mystery but already many are blaming new regulations designed to make races more exciting. The sport itself is now set for a critical period of self-examination.
source: BBC, 1st of may 1994