Motor Racing: Lauda plea to drivers

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NIKI LAUDA, the former world champion, yesterday added his voice to the debate over the causes of Ayrton Senna's fatal crash, and reiterated his plea for the drivers to take a more active role in the safety debate.

'The problem is that the Imola track is terribly fast, relatively bumpy and the cars are under enormous pressure,' he said. 'If you lose control of your car you don't stand a chance.'

He said that a system had to be worked out for the drivers to help create safer tracks. 'A driver used to speeds of 300kph (186mph) can naturally judge race tracks differently from officials,' he said. 'Drivers in the last few years have not done anything because they have been spoiled by the safety in Formula One with the new cars, (and the fact) that there were no accidents.'

Lauda said that in the case of Ratzenberger's death, people might argue that his Simtek team was new and did not have the same technical resources as a more experienced team and therefore the car broke down. 'But the same thing happened to Williams and the Williams car is one of the most successful race cars ever. The same thing can happen anywhere.'