Senna's last race

Senna Imola video shot
Tape doctored

The in-car footage transmitted from Ayrton Senna's car was supplied by the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) to Williams Grand Prix Engineering in May 1994.

Maurizio Passarini, the chief prosecutor in the Senna manslaughter trial, said he had asked for the pictures from Senna's car on May 9 1994 but the FOCA representatives claim that the request had been interpreted as 'shots of the impact' which did not exist.

The videotape was finally received by the Italian authorities on September 9 1996, and the above image was the last shot shown.

However, Maurizio Passarini has said he believes the tape had been doctored and that the final second of the in-car footage existed.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom on May 14 1997, Passarini stated:

"I am certain that the pictures supplied by the FOCA are not complete. Several details show this to be the case."

In 1994 when the existence of the videotape was finally disclosed, TV experts privately expressed their scepticism at the way the pictures ended - the very moment that Senna's car starts to veer off the track at the Tamburello curve...

The version initially shown on Brazil's TV Globo reportedly ended 12.8 seconds into Senna's fatal lap. The data from the cars computer memory is said to have indicated that the crash had occurred at 14.2 seconds, therefore 1.4 secs was missing. The video viewed in the courtroom on May 14 showed a gap of 0.9secs…

FOCA threatens libel action

"The film finished because our television director decided to cut to another shot", the FOCA claims, and they have asked the Italian authorities to consider prosecuting Passarini.

The FOCA believes the statements made by Maurizio Passarini were defamatory and there is no evidence to prove his accusations.

One moment in time

Prosecution experts claim that there was fatigue-crack damage which had extended through 60% of the steering column.

Williams' experts have now agreed the column was cracked, but they argue that only 21-40% of it was affected, so the steering would have remained operational.

Further video evidence would show if Ayrton Senna spent his last moments fighting for the control of an uncontrollable car, or whether he already knew he was merely a passenger…


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