FEBRUARY 13, 1995
Senna accident report due
Frank Williams told British pressmen last week that he expects Italian magistrates to publish their report about Ayrton Senna's fatal accident within the next few days.
It is now more than nine months since Senna died after crashing at high speed in Tamburello Corner at Imola during last year's San Marino Grand Prix on May 1. The Italians investigating the accident have so far been unable to agree upon a reason for the crash; and scientists who have analyzed the wreckage disagree on whether or not the steering column of Senna's Williams-Renault broke before the car hit the wall, or during the accident.
Williams says that he expects the Italian report to blame the steering, but he wants to give his engineers the chance to analyze the wreckage and draw their own conclusions. To date they have been denied the right to examine the car, which was impounded by the Italian authorities soon after the crash.
The Williams team has made it quite clear on a number of occasions that they have no data which suggests any form of mechanical failure on the car, but many people in F1 still find it impossible to believe that Senna's death was caused because the Brazilian lost control of the car over the bumps in the corner.
The fact is that the Italian report will probably go down in history as the reason for the crash, even if there is some doubt as to the cause. By preempting the publication of the report, Williams hopes to throw some doubt on the findings of the Italians. If Williams engineers examine the car and find the steering to have been faulty, we are unlikely to hear more;, but if their analysis differs from that of the Italians, the team is likely to publicize its findings.