On 1 May 1994, Brazilian Formula One driver was killed while he was leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. On lap 7, Ayrton Senna’s car left the racing line at Tamburello, ran in a straight line off the track and struck an unprotected concrete barrier.

Senna’s fatal crash just after the moment of impact at the Tamburello corner of the Imola circuit

Telemetry data recovered from the wreckage shows he entered the corner at 309 km/h and then braked hard, downshifting twice to slow down before impacting the wall at 211 km/h. The car hit the wall at a shallow angle, tearing off the right front wheel and nose cone before spinning to a halt.

After Senna’s car stopped, he was initially motionless in the cockpit. After about ten seconds, as recorded by the close-up aerial footage, his head was seen to lift to the left before returning to its original position. Thereafter he did not move again. At 3:00 pm, the helicopter landed in front of the Maggiore Hospital. Doctors rushed Senna into intensive care. Senna’s heart stopped beating at 6:37 pm.

The Supreme Court of Cassation of Italy ruled that mechanical failure was the cause of the crash, although this has been disputed.

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