Imola confirm special plans for Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger anniversary

Thomas Maher
Ayrton Senna, Roland Ratzenberger, Imola.

Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger will be remembered during May 1st at the Imola circuit.

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the tragic deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Ratzenberger and Senna were killed in separate accidents during the weekend of the San Marino Grand Prix at the Imola circuit.

Roland Ratzenberger, Ayrton Senna to be remembered at Imola

This week, on May 1, a free event is to be held at the Imola Autodrome in order to allow the public to join circuit personnel in remembering the two drivers who fell during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

April 30th marks 30 years since F1 rookie Ratzenberger died at the wheel of his Simtek, following a failure on his car during qualifying that resulted in him going off and hitting the wall at the Villeneuve chicane.

Twenty-four hours later, during the grand prix itself, race leader Ayrton Senna went off at the flat-out Tamburello corner and struck the wall on the outside. The three-time F1 World Champion died as a result of his injuries.

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The Municipality of Imola, together with the circuit, will host a day of remembrance for Senna and Ratzenberger, with attendees to the race track invited to wear the colours of the flags of Brazil and Austria.

The event has been coordinated in collaboration with the Instituto Ayrton Senna, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Emilia-Romagna region, while F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and circuit president Giancarlo Minardi will both be in attendance to lay flowers and pay tribute to the two drivers.

Imola’s 30th-anniversary celebrations throughout May 1

The circuit will be open for the public between 9am and 6pm, with the day kicking off at 9:30am with a walk dedicated to Senna and Ratzenberger before local, national, and international authorities pause at Tamburello for a commemoration at 1:30pm.

A moment of silence will be held at 2:17pm, the exact time of Senna’s crash, before the congregation moves slightly further up the track at Villeneuve to commemorate Ratzenberger.

At 4:30pm, an excerpt from the 2024 Levay Films documentary on Ratzenberger will be aired on screens inside the circuit’s media centre, followed at 4:45pm. by a moment dedicated to Senna with the presentation of journalist Franco Nugnes’ book entitled “Senna: The Truths.”

At 9:00pm, a special “Ayrton and I” event will see a theatrical monologue accompanied by music and images on the relationship between the driver and his fans, and will be held on the Autodrome’s starting straight.

Throughout the day, visitors will also be able to view exhibits of memorabilia of both drivers at the Checco Costa Museum at the race track.

A full programme of events, including photographic exhibitions and recounted memories, will be held around the race track and the town.

“The remembrance of Senna and Ratzenberger will also be an opportunity for dialogue,” said Imola’s mayor Marco Paniere.

“For relations and listening between peoples, between cultures, and will unite different continents, along these months and in particular on the day of May 1.”

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