TODAY is the 20th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Millions around the world watched live as the greatest racing driver of all time slid to his death at the concrete wall beyond the Tamburello corner of the Imola circuit.
His native Brazil declared three days of national mourning and honoured him with a state funeral – the last time there was a state funeral in the UK, it was for Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
Senna’s death changed the landscape of Formula 1 safety. There has not been a driver fatality since that May Day in ’94.
The 20th anniversary of his death is being marked by an exhibition of his F1 cars at Imola, nightly programmes on Sky Sports F1 and special editions of magazines to name but a few.
He has been elevated to an almost mythic status within F1, but in my opinion Senna’s fatal accident has detracted from all the other drivers who have lost their lives.
Every 21st March Twitter is flooded with messages about how old Senna would have been, 54 this year, had he lived.
But do you know which fallen F1 driver celebrated his birthday on 4th July?
It was Roland Ratzenberger, who was killed the day before Senna at Imola, 20 years ago yesterday.
Then FIA president Max Mosley went to his funeral because everyone else went to Senna’s.
It’s 40 years ago this year since the deaths of Peter Revson and Helmuth Koinigg, the 50th anniversary of Carel Godin de Beaufort’s death and the 60th anniversary of Onofre Marimón’s death.
Where are their programmes? Where are their magazine spreads? Where are even their short little eulogies during the pre-race shows?
As the world begins four years of commemorating the centenary of WW1 and the 70th anniversary of D-Day, perhaps it is time for the FIA to designate an official day of remembrance for all the lost drivers?
After all, we remember fallen soldiers from all sides from all wars on 11th November, the day of the WW1 armistice.
Obviously the day would have to be 1st May as it’s the anniversary of Senna’s death after all.
There should also be a Cenotaph with the names of every lost driver on it, from all forms of motorsport, outside the FIA’s headquarters in Paris.
I am in no way trying to detract from the sheer magnitude and impact caused by Senna’s death, not at all; Ayrton Senna is my hero after all.
What I’m saying is that Formula 1 seems to get caught up in remembering Senna and seems to drop a vast majority of other names in a fleeting moment.