Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger to be commemorated by Imola on 30th anniversary

Thomas Maher
Ayrton Senna memorial at Imola.

Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger will be commemorated throughout 2024, the 30th anniversary of the tragic weekend at Imola.

Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger will be remembered with a series of initiatives throughout 2024, marking the 30th anniversary of their respective deaths.

The Imola circuit and town will pay tribute to Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger with a series of events and remembrance moments throughout the year, including during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend.

The two F1 drivers passed away in separate accidents during the weekend of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at the Imola circuit, in what is widely regarded as one of the darkest moments in Formula 1 history in May.

Imola to pay tribute to fallen heroes Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger

Ratzenberger lost his life in a crash at the Villeneuve corner during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix, caused by the front wing of his Simtek working loose as he entered the high-speed corner.

Twenty-four hours later, Senna also lost his life in a crash at Tamburello while leading the grand prix.

The two men, inextricably linked through the circumstances of their tragic deaths, will be remembered through a ‘series of initiatives’ confirmed by the Automobile Club d’Italia ahead of this year’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Imola, which returned to the calendar in 2020 after a long absence, now hosts the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and, after being forced to cancel last year’s race due to flooding in the region, will hold an F1 race again on the May 19 – the first European race of the year.

Both Senna and Ratzenberger will be remembered with moments of memorial through the weekend, although the exact list of events to mark the anniversaries has not yet been finalised by the Imola circuit.

“As a region, we strongly wanted the return of Formula 1 to Imola, a central appointment in the very rich calendar of sporting events in Emilia-Romagna,” said Stefano Bonaccini, President of the Emilia-Romagna Region.

“This year the grand prix is enriched with further profound meanings: the memory of a beloved champion like Ayrton Senna and a strong signal of restart in the Romagna region hit by the flood.”

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For this year’s race, Imola is also releasing tickets for five further grandstands sprinkled around the circuit, such as at Tosa, the Variante Alta, and Acque Minerali. The extra tickets will add an extra capacity of a further 17,000 seats.

“The return of Imola after a year of forced absence in the Formula 1 World Championship has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the fans, as can be seen from the promotional campaign started before Christmas,” commented Angelo Sticchi Damiani, President of the Automobile Club d’Italia.

“Hence the desire to make available additional, prestigious grandstand seats for the May race, which will be the first of the two Italian stages, convinced of obtaining the approval of those who will want to attend this unmissable live spectacle.”

Imola, whose contract with F1 expires after next year’s event, is eager to remain on the calendar beyond 2025 as the mayor of Imola, Marco Panieri, said investments into Imola will continue.

“We are ready to put on a great event, which will be able to welcome in the best possible way the tide of fans, who love our circuit,” he said.

“We want it to be a celebration of pride and promotion for the whole of Made in Italy, Emilia-Romagna and Imola. For this reason, we will continue the planned investments in the facility and prepare a rich calendar of collateral events, also in the historic centre, keeping alive the memory of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, 30 years after their death.”

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