JAT GP ARCHIVE Thousands pack Imola for memorial service for Senna and Ratzenberger



Thousands of fans and some drivers have attended a service to mark twenty years since three-time world champion Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger who died twenty years ago. Senna died when his car crashed at 14:17 CET (13:17 BST) when a silence was held.

Many past and present drivers attended the event including Double world champion Fernando Alonso,  among those at Imola, said of Senna: “For a lot of us, he was our idol.” The Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger, who died in qualifying on the same track a day earlier, was also remembered.

Fernando Alonso told the media “I used to watch his races on the news and when you saw that yellow helmet and the No. 1 on his car, that really hit you as a kid.”

Ratzenberger’s father, Rudolf, said he and his wife, Margit, were “very touched to see that there is so much interest” in their son. He added: “Senna is also in our hearts.”

Damon Hill, Senna’s team-mate in 1994, said: “The Japanese and the Brazilians saw him as a god. His passion was undeniable and I sincerely believe he wanted to make the world a better place.”

Fans have also been gathering in Brazil near Sennas final resting place and the Brazilian football team Corinthians players wore replicas of the helmet worn by the driver, a big fan of the football club.

Many more events will take place over the weekend

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