That day at Imola

The most recognised helmet in F1 history. Image Copyright © McLaren Media

The most recognised helmet in F1 history. Image Copyright © McLaren Media

Millions worldwide have vivid memories of that moment in history when Formula One lost Ayrton Senna. Arguably it’s greatest asset.

A few recollections from people all over and a certain 9-year-old from UK.

“I was at home in Mumbai. I did not believe it at all and I refused to. It was hard. He is a legend. He lives on…”
Colston Julian, Advertising Photographer in Mumbai

“I actually remember watching the race on Prime Sports, don’t remember if it was live or a recording. As they went back and showed replays of the crash it was obvious it was not a usual crash. When the chopper landed to medivac him, I remember thinking, that’s it, 2 dead drivers in one weekend, F1 is changed forever. The feed was onboard with Schumi at the time he went off and it is sad that Schumi is in the condition that he is at this time. I am going to Imola this year as a tribute. Will be there at the end of June. I think F1 changed for me that weekend. It all became real. It’s like the moment in time when you discover that riding a bike is not all fun and falling hurts. A little bit of a bubble bursts. Ratzenberger and Senna changed F1 for me forever.”
– Krishnan Menon, Networking & Marketing Professional in Singapore

“Yes i remember. I was watching the race live on TV, and already clouded by the death of Ratzenberger, and the apprehension which Senna seemed to have and then watch the crash, and then the blanket tent…I felt, it was going to be close and then heard the news on TV later and since he was my hero, i couldn’t control my tears, and no one at home could understand especially for a man whom i had never seen in my life except on TV!”
Madhusudan Rhenius, Marketing Professional in Chennai

“I’d heard of his death while doing an Ad for a Tyre brand. In fact I wasn’t into Formula 1 at that time. But I had to read up about this fearless driver. I’d heard of Niki Lauda before.
He was like a hero for me because he’d raced and crashed many times, had his car burnt, his face burnt, part of his ear was gone, doctors had written off his racing career but he came back and raced”
– Deepak Joshi, Advertising Professional in Jakarta

“Yes I think I was at a friend’s place and back in the day when satellite TV was just about there, but I know all of us girls were shocked that he was gone like that in an accident.
I remembered it again when I read of Schumacher some time back…just feel these racers love living and racing on the edge and then it literally takes the life out of them”
Namrata Nandan, Advertising Professional in Mumbai

“I was watching the Grand Prix on TV. I can remember every moment. Did not sleep that night. When I got the news I was shattered and in tears. Senna was my hero. I hated Prost!!! Just before the car hit the wall, I remember asking my brother what Senna was doing going wide. The next ten seconds was slow motion in my head. Will never forget it.
I went close to the TV. Saw his faint quiver and told my brother ‘geyche’ (means gone in Bengali). Then the airlift. Waited for some news. Finally got it on BBC World Service Radio” - Subhabrata Ghosh, Brand Consultant in Bangalore

“I remember being on the college bus when I heard about it the day after – we were doing internal exams or something and none of us had watched it Live. I remember thinking only 34, at least a couple of titles more for sure. For some inexplicable reason, I thought Schumi was the culprit…”
Canice Chandan Pinto, IT Enabled Services in USA

“I remember when I was at University we were all in shock about his death as we all watched Formula 1 together back then.”
Will Tsang, Law Professional in London

“Yup, I do. I was in Class lll then, and I remember watching videos of it on the news, and reading about it in SportStar magazine . I do remember feeling rather sad…for the brilliant racer whose life got extinguished prematurely…”
– Phalgun Reddy, Planning Professional in Gurgaon

“I remember it was early May and I was at Rye House. I had just finished a race and my dad, quietly, came over to me and said, ‘Lewis, Ayrton Senna’s just died…He’s had a terrible crash at Imola…’ I remember how I did not want to show emotion in front of my dad because I thought he would have a go at me and so I walked round the back, where no one was looking, and I just cried. I really struggled the rest of that day. i could not stop imagining what had gone on. I was only nine years old. The man who inspired me was dead. He was a superhero, you know, and that was him…just gone”
– Lewis Hamilton, British Formula One Driver

[excerpt taken from Lewis Hamilton : My Story © 2007 Harper Collins Publishing]