On this day: May 1

May 1 will forever be remembered as the day Formula 1 lost one of its true greats – Ayrton Senna.

1994 – Ayrton Senna dies at the San Marino Grand Prix


Ayrton Senna, one of if not the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time, tragically lost his life after a high-speed accident at Imola.

Senna rounded the high-speed Tamburello corner on the seventh lap of the race, and his Williams FW16 left the racing line while traveling at a speed of about 307 km/h (191 mph). He continued in a straight line off the track and hit the concrete wall at a speed of about 233 km/h (145 mph). Race telemetry showed that the Brazilian had hit the breaks for two seconds prior to the impact.

Medical staff was at the scene within two minutes and after he received treatment on the scene, he was transported to a nearby medical facility.

He passed away shortly after due to a ruptured temporal artery, fatal skull fractures and brain injuries.

Senna’s death, as well as the passing of F1 rookie Roland Ratzenberger – who fatally crashed during Saturday qualifying of the same race – had a lasting impact on the sport. Significant safety improvements were made, including major cuts to engine power, improved crash barriers and redesigned tracks.

Sporting birthdays

1951: Gordon Greenidge, West Indian cricketer
1953: Mindy Moore, LPGA golfer
1968: Oliver Bierhoff, German footballer
1975: Marc-Vivien FoƩ, Cameroonian footballer
1982: Tommy Robredo, Spanish tennis player