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The Day a Welding Fracture Killed a Brazilian Idol

  Ayrton Senna is seen as one of the greatest heroes and champions of Brazil. His undisputed ability to drive Formula 1 cars transformed the looks of a whole generation of Brazilians into the sport.


  Senna started his motoring career at the age of 13, and would be considered by specialist journalists, drivers and fans as the best Formula 1 driver of all time.

  On a Sunday, May 1th, 1994, the great Brazilian champion would face his last race. After a confused start, the race apparently went through normalcy. Senna fired the lead, riding his blue Williams under the watchful eye of Brazil, who was already waiting for his 42nd victory. A few weeks earlier, Senna asked his engineering team for an adjustment to the steering column length of the car. According to Senna, it would facilitate his piloting if the steering wheel was closer to his body. Williams’s engineering team then closed the steering bar and wrapped it with a metal glove. The union of the metal sleeve with the rest of the bar was made by welding.


  During the course of the race, the weld bead was worn out by fatigue, due to repeated twisting and bending, until in a high-speed curve at more than 300 km / h, Senna slightly turned the steering wheel and car did not obey. With the fracture of the weld, the steering wheel no longer had any connection with the movement of the wheels. The impact on the wall was violent, generating in addition to the damage caused by the crash, the shock of a component of Williams suspension with Senna’s helmet, piercing it and directly reaching the pilot’s head, causing his death almost instantly.


  Imam’s fire department arrived 20 seconds after the accident, ensuring no fire. After 2 minutes, what many race safety experts say is too loud, the ambulance arrived at the pilot and attempts to save Senna began. Taken by helicopter to the Maggiore hospital in Bologna, pilot Ayrton Senna died 40 minutes after being hospitalized.


Brazil had lost one of its greatest icons of the sporting world of all time.




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