This is a personal tribute to two heroes of mine.
The weekend of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, held at Imola, is widely regarded as the blackest weekend in the history of Formula One and one of the worst moments in motorsport in general. It saw Rubens Barrichello knocked unconscious in a horrific accident on Friday; several spectators seriously injured when Pedro Lamy's Lotus collided with the stalled Benetton of JJ Lehto at the start of the race, spewing debris into the grandstands; and it saw a loose wheel ploughing through Lotus and Ferrari mechanics after falling off Michele Alboreto's Minardi as he left the pit lane.
And on Saturday it also saw the Simtek of Roland Ratzenberger spear off the circuit at over 300 km/h after his front wing collapsed. He died instantly. His death was the first at a race meeting since 1982 and it shook Formula One. Many prominent drivers, both past and present, met to begin talks about the resurrection of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association in order to promote greater safety at race meetings.
Ayrton Senna, one of the figureheads of these meetings and considered even then one of the greatest drivers to have ever graced the world of motorsport, was personally affected by Ratzenberger's death. It is said that before the start of the Grand Prix he behaved unusually. While it was a trademark of his that he waved a Brazilian flag in victory, that day it was widely rumoured that he stashed an Austrian flag in his cockpit instead in order to honour the memory of Roland.
Only the San Marino Grand Prix saw Ayrton become the second driver to be killed in as many days and arguably ultimately saw his death eclipse the whole awareness of Roland Ratzenberger in many people's minds.
I sincerely hope that no one finds this inappropriate or tacky (or along those lines) - as I say, this is my personal tribute, but the last thing I want to do is cause offense.
Various photos were used in reference - most of the logos themselves regrettably were copy-and-pasted off the internet - I lack the skill to recreate them adequately. As it stands the proportions and perspective of the entire thing are probably shot to hell, but then that's just my pics usually turn out.
Comments and suggestions are very welcome!
All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners, used without permission.
God speed, Roland Ratzenberger (4/Jul/1960 - 30/Apr/1994)
God speed, Ayrton Senna (21/Mar/1960 - 1/May/1994)