Motor racing: New twist to Senna case

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The Independent Online
Five days before the start of the manslaughter trial arising out of the death of Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994 photographic evidence has emerged which suggests that the Brazilian's fatal crash may have been caused by a small fragment of debris on the track.

The Sunday Times yesterday put forward the theory that Senna, driving on low tyre pressure which would make his car vulnerable to bumps on the track, spotted the fragment - possibly from a damaged Benetton car - and tried to avoid it.

The paper suggested he then hit a bump he normally would have avoided and, crashed into the wall running alongside the Tamburello curve at 190mph, suffering fatal head injuries.

The photograph has been passed on to the Williams-Renault team and may constitute part of the case for the defence when the team owner, Frank Williams, the team's technical director Patrick Head, designer Adrian Newey, the race organiser, Federico Bendinelli, the circuit manager, Giorgio Poggi, and the race director, Roland Bruynseraede, all face manslaughter charges..

The prosecution is said to have has been brought on the basis that Senna's steering column had been shortened so he could see his instrument panel better and had been badly welded together. It is alleged that the column split in two just before Senna took the bend before the fatal crash.

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