Motor Racing: Brazilian wrote of his fears

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AYRTON SENNA was having handling problems with his car on the Imola track, according to a newspaper article that he wrote which appeared on the morning of his death.

Senna, writing in Germany's biggest Sunday newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, also said that Roland Ratzenberger's fatal accident had confirmed his fears about safety risks in Formula One this season.

The Brazilian had written on Saturday that he had experienced problems with his Williams-Renault on the difficult Imola circuit, and that his car was inferior to Michael Schumacher's Benetton-Ford. He said Schumacher's car was 'certainly a very good car, above all on rolling, uneven stretches with long bends'.

Senna wrote: 'It's one thing that's giving me a headache because it exposes the technical weak points of my Williams- Renault. My car reacts a bit nervously on this kind of race surface. This stems from its special aerodynamics, but it's also got to do with a difficulty in the suspension.

'For these reasons at the beginning of last week we experimented with a couple of aerodynamic modifications which in practice at Imola I have already tried out.'

Referring to the Brazilian and Japanese grands prix, Senna wrote: 'I pointed out to directors of both races that in the future we should look more critically at the capabilities of young or inexperienced drivers.

'At the weekend my fears were borne out in tragic fashion; Roland Ratzenberger, racing in his first season, died after an accident on the fastest bend of the track. The day before, Rubens Barrichello hit a fence at high speed.

'I know from my own experience that as a young driver one goes into a race in a totally different way and accepts risks that you shake your head about later. Our problem is, that at this moment, there are very many young drivers and that increases the danger.'

The Brazilian nation went into mourning yesterday as it tried to come to terms with the death of one of its greatest sporting heroes. As crowds gathered outside the family home in Sao Paulo, the President Itamar Franco offered his plane to bring the driver's body home for burial.