Williams fear Senna fall-out
David Tremayne looks at the troubled legal process in the wake of a tragedy
The team has never denied that the column was modified, at Senna's request, and speaking about the steering column on the Williams car, which photographs had shown lying broken alongside it after the impact, Lorenzini said: "It had been badly welded together about a third of the way down and couldn't stand the strain of the race. We discovered scratches on the crack in the steering rod. It seemed like the job had been done in a hurry but I can't say how long before the race. Someone had tried to smooth over the join following the welding. I have never seen anything like it. I believe the rod was faulty and probably cracked even during the warm-up. Moments before the crash only a tiny piece was left connected and therefore the car didn't respond in the bend."
Serious questions have been raised about the manner in which this long overdue report has been compiled. Students at Bologna University and representatives of other motorsport disciplines have all been granted greater access to the remains of Williams FW16/2 than the men who designed it. Patrick Head, Williams's technical director and a man of unusual integrity, was given 10 minutes with the chassis in a dank garage beneath a grandstand at Imola, shortly after the accident, and a similar length of time later.
Head has voiced concern over the interpretation of data his team supplied to Lorenzini. "We sent some, and were asked to clarify it," he said. "What has been said during the period since the accident does not appear to reflect understanding of what we actually said, even though we were asked to couch the revised version in layman's language." He has also maintained that the car could not have generated the steering inputs revealed by onboard telemetry if the steering column had sheared.
Lorenzini claimed that the tabloid paper which printed his comments last week quoted remarks he made not recently, but early last year. Nevertheless, they still seem remarkably intemperate.
The delay in publishing the report has been scandalous, though similar instances in the past have also revealed the inherent sloth of the Italian system. When Wolfgang von Trips was killed at Monza in the Italian Grand Prix in 1961 for example, following a collision with Jim Clark, it was some years before the innocent Clark felt comfortable in Italy.
Italian law requires identification of those culpable in accidents such as Senna's. Frank Williams, Patrick Head and other Williams team personnel could face charges, but all racing teams hope that, at worst, Passarini would pass suspended sentences. Every entry ticket bears the warning "Motor racing is dangerous". Drivers, more than anyone, understand that. Serious sentences would serve no purpose beyond following to the letter a law regarded as dubious by the standards of most other countries. And they would certainly jeopardise the whole future of grand prix racing in Italy.
Passarini must conclude his deliberations with all decent haste. In November 1994 he told this paper: "Time is marching on. There is no deadline. But we cannot leave this matter for eternity." Twelve months on, patience has all but run out.
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
Sergio Garcia / Tiger Woods 'fried chicken' racism row takes fresh twist after 'coloured athletes' comment
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
New Manchester City manager must deliver five trophies in five years
Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.