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'Ratzenberger deserves Imola tribute'

Wednesday 30-April-2014 13:23

Former Formula One driver Roland Ratzenberger deserved a tribute alongside that of Ayrton Senna at Imola, according to his former team-mate David Brabham.

Ratzenberger was involved in a fatal crash and died on the scene during qualifying at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, a day before three-time F1 champion Senna died during the race.

While there will be a special memorial service for the Austrian, and both he and Senna will be remembered this week at Imola, no formal tribute to Ratzenberger exists at the Italian track.

"I was sad when I heard there was nothing for Roland," Brabham told BBC Sport, adding that a "simple plaque" would suffice.

While many regard Ratzenberger as the 'forgotten man' in F1, Brabham disagrees.

"Would we still be talking about Roland 20 years on if only Roland had died?" Brabham asked.

"The fact he died on the same weekend as Senna means he will always be remembered."

During qualifying at Imola that fateful day, Ratzenberger's front wing was damaged before it broke completely but was lodged under his car. As a result, he was unable to control the car and crashed into a concrete wall.

Recalling the day of the accident, Brabham admitted that he immediately thought his Simtek team-mate had passed away.

"I can't remember how long into the session it was," Brabham said.

"We had done some qualifying runs. I came round Tamburello [curve] and the red flag had come out - actually I think they were yellows at first. I slowed down.

"He'd finished up at the middle of the corner - we ended up going around the outside of the car. When I saw the bits first and saw where the car ended up, I was concerned - that was the fastest part of the circuit. You're doing 300-something kilometres an hour. I looked and immediately thought he was gone - his head position, his visor was up.

"You thought 'that doesn't look good' - then your brain goes into protection mode or something. The next thought I had was I had to get back to the pits to keep the tyres warm which is the most ridiculous thing to think about, but that's what I thought about."

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