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Newey: Senna's death still haunts me to this day

2 October 2013

Red Bull technical guru Adrian Newey has admitted the death of three-time F1 world champion Ayrton Senna still haunts him.

Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix when he crashed at Tamburello in the Newey-designed Williams FW16.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with BBC Sport, which will be broadcast on Thursday on Radio 5 live, ahead of this weekend's Korean Grand Prix, the 14th round in the 2013 F1 World Championship, Newey added that 'no-one will [ever] know' what caused the accident.

“There was an aura about him, something that's difficult to describe. He most certainly had a presence. [And] what happened that day, what caused the accident, still haunts me to this day,” Newey said.

“The steering column failure, was it the cause, or did it happen in the accident?” he pondered. “There is no doubt it was cracked. Equally, all the data, all the circuit cameras, the on-board camera from Michael Schumacher's car that was following, none of that appears to be consistent with a steering-column failure.

“The car oversteered [when the rear tried to spin] initially and Ayrton caught that and only then did it go straight.

“But the first thing that happened was oversteer, in much the same way as you will sometimes see on a superspeedway in the States - the car will lose the rear, the driver will correct, and then it will go straight and hit the outside wall, which doesn't appear to be consistent with a steering-column failure.”

Newey also said that he was disappointed the FW16 wasn't initially at the same level as the cars enjoyed by Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell in 1993 and 1992 respectively.

“He joined Williams because we had managed to build a decent car for the previous three years and he wanted to be in the team he thought built the best car - and unfortunately that '94 car at the start of the season wasn't a good car,” Newey continued.

“Ayrton's raw talent and determination... he tried to carry that car and make it do things it really wasn't capable of. And it just seems such a shame and so unfair he was in that position.

"And then, of course, by the time we did get the car sorted, he wasn't with us any longer.”


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