Friday 29 April 1994

On Friday afternoon, April 29th, Ayrton begins the second free practice session; it is a windy day, and many drivers feel this discomfort.
During the morning he obtains the fastest time of the track with 1: 21: 598 while Damon Hill, his teammate, is outstrip by more than a second.

The sun shines on the William's iron body in the pits and calm reigns all over. Ezio Zermiani, historical RAI senior reporter, walks with his microphone in front of the British pits, hunting for a statement of the Brazilian about the first two disastrous races of the season: a spin and a retreat; not just the results you would expect from a three times world champion.

The initial shyness towards the runway is dissolved almost immediately when various drivers start to spin, including Morbidelli, Martini and Bernard, while the wind blowing seems to be less annoying in comparison with the thrilling roar of engines.
Ayrton comes down the track and his car is nervous as his state of mind; during the morninghe doesn’t spare bad words for nobody, neither for his compatriot, Fittipaldi.

That young german boy, Schumacher, seems too good and his car is too perfect. Where everyone lose grip he goes without any kind of problem; Ayrton knows that it's impossible and that car has something different from the others. Maybe in the first year in which active suspension were banned, the Schumacher’s Benetton has some electronic device? No one wants to open an investigation.

Probably these are his thoughts while he closes his first round with 1: 22: 430. Then he exceeds the Tamburello corner at full speed when the attention of viewers moves to another part of the circuit: they heard a very bad sound which remembers a crash.
It's Rubens Barrichello, who finished the first two races of the season with a promising fourth and third place.

It’s about 01:14 p.m. o’clock : Rubens drives too fast at the entrance of the Variante Bassa. Rated speed: 230 km/h. His car, aided by the failure of the left rear suspension, widens the trajectory and, when Barrichello tries to correct it, the car crashes above the row of tires.

Red flag: Sid Watkins, the FIA medical historian, gets on track and tries to remove the pilot from the cockpit. Rubens seems to have lost his senses and, with the help of the medical staff, he is transported to the emergency room of the circuit.

After just 15 minutes of free practice, all drivers are in the boxes to reflect on what is just happened.

Ayrton Senna is shocked by the incident. Back to the Williams pits, he removes his helmet and runs to the emergency room of the circuit. Surrounded by reporters he says these exact words, which will be his last public statement:

"He's fine, he's fine, he took a scare. It 'a bit shocked but he's fine. There's nothing broken, he speaks normal ... "

Click to read Saturday, 30th April 1994 !