Newey on Imola 1994

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Gerhard Berger
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by Gerhard Berger » Fri May 20, 2011 11:07 am

I do see where HampusA is coming from. Unlike Ratzenberger, Senna did not suffer a basal skull fracture, as was common for high speed accidents like this. The actual impact with the wall did very little direct damage to Senna (perhaps a concussion at most).

What killed him was not only the suspension piecing his helmet at it's weakest part, but also the tyre coming back (due to the angle of impact) and hitting Senna's head, thus crushing it against the cockpit.

HampusA
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by HampusA » Fri May 20, 2011 11:29 am

gridwalker wrote:
HampusA wrote:
gridwalker wrote:I gotta agree with Richard : Hampus, how many fatal accidents have you watched live on TV? Anyone who was watching F1 that weekend will remember why that wasn't (and must never become) "normal".
But still, during that time, every time they crashed they did not die. That time was over. It wasn´t the Jim Clark era even though people still died sometimes.
The consensus of opinion within the paddock following Imola 1994 was that F1 had been extremely lucky to have gone so long without a fatality : At that time, impact testing was rudimentary at best and head protection was non-existent. The steps that have been taken since that weekend in the name of improving safety (many of which seemed to be draconian knee-jerk reactions at the time) have completely changed the game in terms of managed risk.

Non-fatal car crashes may have been common back then, but that was a statistical anomaly; F1 had been living on borrowed time for over a decade, ignoring blatant safety issues because the statistics made the sport seem safer than it was.

Statistical anomalies happen all the time; get a mathematician to explain the statistics and perceptual myths behind a "lucky streak" and you will see how the random nature of event sequences can distort your interpretation of a sequence to give the impression that an "extreme" outcome is much less likely that it really is ... that was what everyone THOUGHT was normal until Mayday 1994.

Suddenly, 2 drivers were dead within 48 hours and the entire sport had to rethink its approach. If the investigation into these deaths and subsequent response by the teams and FIA had ignored all of the contributory factors and had focussed solely on the item that struck the fatal blow (the broken suspension, as you kindly pointed out) then the culture of accepted risk would have continued within the sport unmoderated and we would have had many more fatalities in the following years.

To say that the circumstances surrounding that weekend were a "normal" occurrence strikes me as horrendously blasé : surely these people who gave their lives for our entertainment deserve a bit more respect.
I never said people dying was a normal GP weekend. I said people crashing were normal. Which still stands true even today.

"Extremely lucky" No i don´t believe in luck and neither should F1 teams.

If Kubica would have cut his both feet of hitting the concrete they would again have to rethink safety, but they didn´t. Why? Well Kubica was pretty much ok and both feet were still there.
People doesn´t react until bad things happen, this goes for our society aswell for the most part.
And don´t tell me i have no respect for the people that died, i have no idea how you even can say such a thing.
The truth will come out...

gridwalker
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by gridwalker » Fri May 20, 2011 11:53 am

HampusA wrote:"Extremely lucky" No i don´t believe in luck and neither should F1 teams.
Read what I wrote : I explained how "extremely lucky" is shorthand for a statistical anomaly.
HampusA wrote:If Kubica would have cut his both feet of hitting the concrete they would again have to rethink safety, but they didn´t. Why? Well Kubica was pretty much ok and both feet were still there.
Actually, they implemented safety fencing along the walls that flipped Kubica in Canada (last line of this article : http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2008/6/7876.html) but the safety features that protected his head and neck were implemented in the years following Senna's crash. So, some safety measures were improved in the wake of Kubica's crash, but there are only so many steps that can be taken due to the law of diminishing returns.

You cannot just look at the final outcome (suspension puncturing a helmet) and draw conclusions, but you need to find the root cause of the incident to minimise the chance of a freak occurrence happening again!
HampusA wrote:And don´t tell me i have no respect for the people that died, i have no idea how you even can say such a thing.
I didn't say you had no respect, just that they deserve more respect than is attributed by describing the circumstances of their death as "normal".

Can I ask if you were watching F1 in the mid 90s, or did you start watching more recently?
"Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine ..."

marcush.
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by marcush. » Fri May 20, 2011 12:07 pm

the issue is not to lay the blame at someones door or find the one responsible person ,but to make sure something like this will not happen again.
If you are debating about the failure sequence after 20 years you will not be able to find a solution to the problem ,you can only look to find bandaids to minimise the consequences when things go terribly wrong.If this may be a useful approach in that case is still debatable.
To me the risk asessment is questionable.Williams modified a steering column in the field and forgot about it . Sure this is something they have erased as a possibility in their proceedures and all teams which have had the luck to work with Newey from then on as well..
But knowing about cracking sidewalls and still going racing is something that does make me shiver ...

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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by HampusA » Fri May 20, 2011 12:37 pm

gridwalker wrote:
HampusA wrote:"Extremely lucky" No i don´t believe in luck and neither should F1 teams.
Read what I wrote : I explained how "extremely lucky" is shorthand for a statistical anomaly.
HampusA wrote:If Kubica would have cut his both feet of hitting the concrete they would again have to rethink safety, but they didn´t. Why? Well Kubica was pretty much ok and both feet were still there.
Actually, they implemented safety fencing along the walls that flipped Kubica in Canada (last line of this article : http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2008/6/7876.html) but the safety features that protected his head and neck were implemented in the years following Senna's crash. So, some safety measures were improved in the wake of Kubica's crash, but there are only so many steps that can be taken due to the law of diminishing returns.

You cannot just look at the final outcome (suspension puncturing a helmet) and draw conclusions, but you need to find the root cause of the incident to minimise the chance of a freak occurrence happening again!
HampusA wrote:And don´t tell me i have no respect for the people that died, i have no idea how you even can say such a thing.
I didn't say you had no respect, just that they deserve more respect than is attributed by describing the circumstances of their death as "normal".

Can I ask if you were watching F1 in the mid 90s, or did you start watching more recently?
Safety fencing wont do much against feet getting crushed against a concrete wall though.

Root of the accident... Hmm assuming it was the tires, should they after every safety car period, take the car into pits, dissasemble the car, analyse the tires. Check the steering rack aswell?

--- happens when you least expect it, freak accidents like Sennas death does aswell. Or did. Still i don´t think we have seen the last death in F1. I honestly hope not but some things can still happen.

Did anyone demand safer helmets after Massa got knocked out? Can´t remember that because it was a freak accident.

Again, i NEVER said their death was normal so stop putting words into my mouth. I said crashes are normal even to this day and age.

Can i ask if it really matters? I think it doesn´t because it´s irrelevant. I honestly think you are miss understanding the whole point of what i´m saying and then write an A4 of stuff that really has nothing to do with what i´m trying to say.
The truth will come out...

JohnsonsEvilTwin
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by JohnsonsEvilTwin » Fri May 20, 2011 12:39 pm

marcush. wrote:the issue is not to lay the blame at someones door or find the one responsible person ,but to make sure something like this will not happen again.
+1000000
More could have been done.
David Purley

marcush.
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by marcush. » Fri May 20, 2011 12:48 pm

a fatigue cracked steering column is not and will never be a freak occurance ,at least not in my book.Hoping for the best with cracked sidewall is also not on the list of things I would seriously consider witout consulting the manufacturer intensely.
You send out human being onto the track who are eager to battle it out and give it all but they surely cannot judge if the thing you entrusted to them is safe or a time bomb.
Sometimes you have to take hard decisions and believe me I was standing in front of the car calling it quits more than once to the annoyance of team boss and driver when I felt it was just too much of a risk to send the driver out .
The very least you do after a safety car period is to alert the driver for low pressures and staying away from the kerbs until the car is coming back to him...

gridwalker
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by gridwalker » Fri May 20, 2011 1:09 pm

HampusA wrote:
gridwalker wrote:
HampusA wrote:"Extremely lucky" No i don´t believe in luck and neither should F1 teams.
Read what I wrote : I explained how "extremely lucky" is shorthand for a statistical anomaly.
HampusA wrote:If Kubica would have cut his both feet of hitting the concrete they would again have to rethink safety, but they didn´t. Why? Well Kubica was pretty much ok and both feet were still there.
Actually, they implemented safety fencing along the walls that flipped Kubica in Canada (last line of this article : http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2008/6/7876.html) but the safety features that protected his head and neck were implemented in the years following Senna's crash. So, some safety measures were improved in the wake of Kubica's crash, but there are only so many steps that can be taken due to the law of diminishing returns.

You cannot just look at the final outcome (suspension puncturing a helmet) and draw conclusions, but you need to find the root cause of the incident to minimise the chance of a freak occurrence happening again!
HampusA wrote:And don´t tell me i have no respect for the people that died, i have no idea how you even can say such a thing.
I didn't say you had no respect, just that they deserve more respect than is attributed by describing the circumstances of their death as "normal".

Can I ask if you were watching F1 in the mid 90s, or did you start watching more recently?
Safety fencing wont do much against feet getting crushed against a concrete wall though.

Root of the accident... Hmm assuming it was the tires, should they after every safety car period, take the car into pits, dissasemble the car, analyse the tires. Check the steering rack aswell?

--- happens when you least expect it, freak accidents like Sennas death does aswell. Or did. Still i don´t think we have seen the last death in F1. I honestly hope not but some things can still happen.

Did anyone demand safer helmets after Massa got knocked out? Can´t remember that because it was a freak accident.

Again, i NEVER said their death was normal so stop putting words into my mouth. I said crashes are normal even to this day and age.

Can i ask if it really matters? I think it doesn´t because it´s irrelevant. I honestly think you are miss understanding the whole point of what i´m saying and then write an A4 of stuff that really has nothing to do with what i´m trying to say.
Actually, I am trying to work out what you really ARE trying to say, because you keep arguing against points that I haven't made.

The reason why I am asking about when you started watching is because I want to know if your perception of "normal" is based on your own experiences and memories, or whether you are basing it on reports, videos and highlight reels : this really does make a difference to how you view these events.

Back in 94, I'd been watching F1 for 7 years and back then I never wrote off any crash as "normal". I'd seen cars go up in flames, backs broken and feet smashed, but hadn't witnessed death on-screen until that day. At no point did I think "he'll be ok, it's normal" : every incident could have had potentially dire consequences and I always remembered that ... As a teenage boy, it was a big part of the excitement.

The changes that have been made since that day have dramatically increased safety, to the point where drivers routinely walk away from what would have been career-ending crashes.

Having watched many potential stars get crippled before their time, I always remember how fortunate modern drivers are to be using the latest generation of equipment. To describe any single incident as "normal" involves taking modern safety standards completely for granted : Sure, there weren't many deaths back then, but death isn't the only thing that can wreck lives.

The fact that you are only citing modern examples indicates that you are too young to remember Senna's death. I still remember watching Mansell break his back in 1987 :

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nRnNpdWPGg[/youtube]

I also watched Berger crasn'n'burn at the same corner that took Senna's life :

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd8q5HoBzOA[/youtube]

Both of these drivers made a full recovery, but they were the fortunate ones. If you don't remember the days when every crash could leave you crippled or worse, your perceptions of what can be considered "normal" for the day will be viewed through a very rosy filter.

This is why I take such an objection to your use of that word : it isn't that you think "death" is normal, it is that you are assuming that viewers took the same relaxed attitude towards the crashes back then as we do now. The fact that even injuries have become a rarity is indicative of how far we have moved.

In one way, it is great that viewers can take driver safety for granted, as it shows how far things have come. Conversely, we now run the risk of falling into the trap of complacency that claimed those lives at Imola.
"Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine ..."

Jon
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by Jon » Fri May 20, 2011 5:24 pm

marcush. wrote: I read that both Newey and Head considered quitting the sport back then when they realised what happened.
They officially stated they cannot surely isolate what happened in which sequence ,but it just tells us the story ....if you feel you could be guilty you are maybe not really the person to investigate and draw conclusions on what happened.
So when Newey says it most probaly was a tyre this might help his state of mind a bit but it is of no importance .

Failure mode analysis is simple and you just don´t stop persistant questioning of what happened inevitably you will arrive at the answer.

will a low pressure outside tyre cause a bit of oversteer just enough to let the car spear of the track in a tangential line? to me this looks more as if there was no front end sideways bite .Even the hefty steering input of senna did not change direction.A car with a puncture would inevitably spin off when you put in strong steering inputs.
I totally agree with the bolded parts, and this was exactly was I was alluding to on my first post on this thread. There is no way Newey will ever publicly say: "Yeah, we know it was the steering column breaking that caused the crash. I became suicidal the day after I learned that..." Of course he is going to appoint blame to chance if he can...hey, tyre failures are common, that seems like a likely cause here too.

Of course that doesn't explain why the tyres (front ones, of course) refuse to turn left after Senna turns the wheel back to the left. I refer you to the first video on Reventon's post in the third page. (Here: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B4tJ7C ... y=CJzjprkH ) Seconds 14, 15 and 16 are the crucial. Between 14 and 15 you see the tyres point to the right, correcting the car. Afterwards you can see Senna moving the steering to the left, but the tyres still pointing to the right.

So, a rear slow puncture does that? Right Newey, whatever you say.

marcush.
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by marcush. » Fri May 20, 2011 10:10 pm

I´m far from blaming Newey on this .I don´t think he even knew much about the modification and that is really the sting in this for him...
What I feel is totally wrong and inappropriate :To come up with this shady airing of doubts is characterising him as a person not from this world and it does match his claim to be annoyed about the accusations about the front wing flex.He is such a clever guy but he seems to be unawares that other people might have some useful substance in their skull as well.
Sometimes it´s better to NOT talk especially in front of the press.And I leave it at that now because I firmly believe he did air all this not in bad intentions.

gold333
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by gold333 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:31 pm

Hi,

Having seen Senna die as I was watching live, I just read the whole 5 pages of this thread and it surprised me that in such a technical forum as this no one mentioned the issue of the steering column reading torsional forces in the telemetry up until the moment of impact.

I have heard this numerous times (and even seen the data) but I wished there was a member here more knowledgeable than myself on this matter who could voice an opinion in this thread.
F1 car width now 2.0m (same as 1993-1997). Lets go crazy and bring the 2.2m cars back (<1992).

R_Redding
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Re: Newey on Imola 1994

Post by R_Redding » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:17 am

I have always thought that the steering wheel mods were only used by the Italian prosecutor as it was proveable that the column had had mods and that after the accident it was found to be broken, irrespective of wether that was the actual cause.

You have to remember that the handling of the car was terrible at that point. The car had run for the previous 2 seasons with a brilliant active system,which Senna thought he would now be driving.
The banning of the system left Williams scrambling to retro fit the cars (over the winter) with a normal suspension and testing how the ban affected the aero performance of that car.

The whole car was compromised at that point in the season...and it was the strenght of the Renault engine that kept it toward the sharp end of the grid.

Rob