Roland Ratzenberger

Roland Ratzenberger

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vaud

40,122 posts

120 months

Sunday 2nd May
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coppice said:
The reactions to that weekend depend on your age. It was shocking , of course , but if you had already been watching motorsport for 25 years it was more deja vu than anything else . As a teenager in 1968 , every month seemed to bring another tragedy - Clark , Spence , Scarfiotti and Schlesser and it made me realise , first hand , that the sport exacted a high price. But even then , it was far safer than in previous decades ,and some pre war races were carnage . I do wonder about the level of handwringing we now get - of course poor Jules Bianchi 's death at Suzuka was terrible , but the coverage in Autosport was crass overkill .

It's up to an individual to decide whether to carry on watching after the death of a high profile driver but I do wonder - was it really that much of a shock that people get killed sometimes?
I think it was a combination of things - the length of time since the last death in F1, that it was a double and nearly a triple fatality in one weekend, and the it was Senna.

Oh and "crass overkill" is an unfortunate choice of words.

vaud

40,122 posts

120 months

Sunday 2nd May
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https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article...

Interview with his father, from 2019.

Moley RUFC

3,365 posts

154 months

Sunday 2nd May
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Digger said:
Penelope Stopit said:
Digger said:
Moley RUFC said:
Digger said:
Thanks for the link wink
I saw it in a book hehe
I just used googled & saw it. As you say purely instinctive as we all would no doubt.
If you mean react the same as,I doubt it, peoples reactions differ

Will never forget a high speed head-on impact, had one to two seconds to react, straightened arms and pushed against the steering wheel as hard as could, on, off and on brakes at the same time, felt like slow motion, five seconds or more

Do think that many involved in big impacts will push against the steering wheel and stay like that

We all differ though so..................

To this day still ask myself how did the mind tell the foot to on off the brake pedal
In those days was it also drummed in to the drivers to take the hands off the steering wheel at point of impact? I assume so. Natural reaction would be for the hands to protect.
It’s an incredible photo as the car appears to be levitating....I’m not sure if the sound clip is genuine but the noise of impact of Rubens crash, in Senna, is pretty harrowing.

LukeBrown66

704 posts

11 months

Sunday 2nd May
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I have only ever seen one fatality at a race meeting over 25 odd years, and that was at a big autograss meeting near where I lived in the 90's.

There were several reasons why it was harrowing, I raced for the same club, knew the man as a great racer, top level, did not know him personally but he had a wife and kids who also raced.

My Dad was in the police and knew I was there, they even had the car at the station afterwards for various reasons, so I knew what happened.

When you see the pumping of a heart, you see the family the paramedic, you see the incident it truly did leave me unable to watch any racing for about a year.

But eventually you reason, he died doing what he loved, he was leading, had a giant heart issue and died at the track so in many ways what better way to go!!

But you instantly think of family, process what you are seeing. And I lost all interest for a long time.

I can't imagine what that weekend in Imola must have been like for everyone, I think now it would be stopped hopefully.

entropy

4,135 posts

168 months

Sunday 2nd May
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The sad thing about this is that RR was a pay driver and pay drivers are still looked down upon.

StevieBee

9,651 posts

220 months

Sunday 2nd May
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entropy said:
The sad thing about this is that RR was a pay driver and pay drivers are still looked down upon.
He was but not in the same way the likes of Mazipan are.

IIRC, he was getting on, comparatively, age wise (was 33 when he got the drive) and his shot at F1 was slipping by. Simtec offered him a five race seat the fee for which he acquired through hustling for sponsors and what today would be called crowdfunding.





entropy

4,135 posts

168 months

Sunday 2nd May
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Still wasn't there on merit.

PDP76

2,078 posts

115 months

Sunday 2nd May
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Crazy weekend. Remember watching it with my dad.
I was just about 16/17 yrs old !

Derek Smith

39,227 posts

213 months

Sunday 2nd May
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coppice said:
The reactions to that weekend depend on your age. It was shocking , of course , but if you had already been watching motorsport for 25 years it was more deja vu than anything else . As a teenager in 1968 , every month seemed to bring another tragedy - Clark , Spence , Scarfiotti and Schlesser and it made me realise , first hand , that the sport exacted a high price. But even then , it was far safer than in previous decades ,and some pre war races were carnage . I do wonder about the level of handwringing we now get - of course poor Jules Bianchi 's death at Suzuka was terrible , but the coverage in Autosport was crass overkill .

It's up to an individual to decide whether to carry on watching after the death of a high profile driver but I do wonder - was it really that much of a shock that people get killed sometimes?
I started watching F1 back in 1966. Yet that weekend got to me, almost as much as did Clark's death, and probably for similar reasons.

There was something about the two that made you think they were untouchable. Indeed, back in the McLaren days, Senna said something about how his god was with him and protecting him. The thing was, he believed he was untouchable as well. If he could be killed, so could anyone.

Also, there hadn't been one for a dozen years, and de Angelis' was down to the fact that the same level of safety was not there for testing, or that's what we were told.

There were articles in various mags around that time about how little pasive safety had been improved since Villeneuve, brought on, I think, by the submission of warnings and suggestions for improvement to the FIA by safety experts. Some of these were used, belatedly of course, by Mosley. The deaths were probably preventable given the level of expertise and knowledge at the time.

For me, I think the whole weekend built up to the death of Senna.

entropy

4,135 posts

168 months

Sunday 2nd May
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Derek Smith said:
Also, there hadn't been one for a dozen years, and de Angelis' was down to the fact that the same level of safety was not there for testing, or that's what we were told.
I remember coming across a quote from I think from Eddie Cheever that de Angelis' accident was like Patrick Depailler all over again (died in a testing accident in the early 1980s). The standards in safety for testing compared to races were poor as were the inadequate amount of marshals.

LukeBrown66

704 posts

11 months

Sunday 2nd May
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Indeed, I have heard a few quotes on pods from Murray who basically states that if it was a GP weekend Elio would have potentially survived.

An awful legacy

FNG

3,096 posts

189 months

Sunday 2nd May
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entropy said:
Still wasn't there on merit.
Classy.

Neither was half the grid in those days. Neither are two thirds of the grid now. They bring funding. It shouldn’t diminish the memory of an f1 driver because that’s how it’s always been and always will be.

He made it to f1. fking good on him.

entropy

4,135 posts

168 months

Sunday 2nd May
quotequote all
FNG said:
Classy.

Neither was half the grid in those days. Neither are two thirds of the grid now. They bring funding. It shouldn’t diminish the memory of an f1 driver because that’s how it’s always been and always will be.

He made it to f1. fking good on him.
That's my point. What legacy does he get?

People say 'never forget Roland' but the drivers who bring funding generally and continually get a bashing.



Fonz

360 posts

149 months

Sunday 2nd May
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Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher both had to bring in money to get their early drives in F1, both are multiple world champions. Also a number of other drivers are selected due to being the best available from their nation which is what a particular sponsor wants.

KR158

470 posts

124 months

Sunday 2nd May
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FNG said:
entropy said:
Still wasn't there on merit.
Classy.

Neither was half the grid in those days. Neither are two thirds of the grid now. They bring funding. It shouldn’t diminish the memory of an f1 driver because that’s how it’s always been and always will be.

He made it to f1. fking good on him.
Absolutely! He was a front runner in Formula Nippon. The works Toyota team chose him for Endurance racing, BMW for touring Cars. He was his own mechanic in Formula Ford & fought & scraped every step of the way. Respected & very well liked by friends & peers. He probably could have achieved more results wise if he had the funding, but did very! well without. He had to bring Money into F1, but very few didn't. He was absolutely! There on merit.

Muzzer79

4,655 posts

152 months

Monday 3rd May
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StevieBee said:
entropy said:
The sad thing about this is that RR was a pay driver and pay drivers are still looked down upon.
He was but not in the same way the likes of Mazipan are.

IIRC, he was getting on, comparatively, age wise (was 33 when he got the drive) and his shot at F1 was slipping by. Simtec offered him a five race seat the fee for which he acquired through hustling for sponsors and what today would be called crowdfunding.
An interesting point

I think the general view is that, back in those days, you had pay drivers in Minardis and Fortis and Simteks - no-hoper cars. Also, the crucial thing was you never felt like a deserved driver was elbowed out to accommodate these pay drivers

Now, when race-winner Perez is ejected and Lance stays, when Hulkenburg can’t get a seat, when Williams have Roy Nissany driving in free practice, it feels like this seat-buying is creeping up the grid and genuinely good drivers are missing out.

As for Roland, the brutal truth was that he was a pay driver - he had to buy his seat. But he certainly paid his dues beforehand in other formulae and, regardless of his ‘status’, he was a good driver who certainly wasn’t out of place in the sport.

Jake899

58 posts

9 months

Monday 3rd May
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Also while it is irrelevant to the driver, the 1994 Simtek was a fantastic looking car in my opinion, one of the best of all time. There were two new teams that year, Simtek and Pacific. The Pacific had a big nose extension, very odd looking. It was a time when each car looked different and unencumbered with appendages and winglets.
The 1991 Jordan and the Ferarri 641 also were wonderful.

Regarding Barichellos crash, there were differing opinions on what to do with your hands in an accident at the time. Many drivers felt an impact with the barriers would tug the steering wheel so hard that if you had even a normal grip on the wheel you were likely to break your hands or wrists. Other drivers felt that letting go of the wheel meant that it was likely an arm could flail out of the cockpit in an accident, resulting in horrific injuries. Damon Hill spoke about it in his book he released in 96. I think we are certainly grateful for the increases in safety since then. The drivers neck and shoulders were awfully exposed.

Roland was a smiling, happy, kind man, well loved by all who met him. I wish his family peace this week.

coppice

6,616 posts

109 months

Monday 3rd May
quotequote all
The whole pay thing is a nonsense and irrelevant - all motor sport is expensive , F1 terrifyingly so , and I don't look down on any driver because he paid for a drive , or somebody else other than the team did . Presumably we don't sneer at drivers funded by Marlboro or JPS but only those with rich families or patrons? And if they get a drive but drivers with chips on both shoulders (Tommy Byrne ) doesn't , bloody good luck to them . From the dawn of motor sport time, money helps - from Richard Seaman (family money ), Stirling Moss (ditto ) and Woolf Barnato (ditto ) via Ronnie Peterson (Count Zanon ) to Lance Stroll - and if they can drive , who cares who pays the bills?

Ratzenberger was a likeable , decent guy who worked his arse off to get into F1 and was quick enough to belong . . Like some of the FF1600 cohort he raced with , he made it , Many never even tried Bloody good for him say I

StevieBee

9,651 posts

220 months

Monday 3rd May
quotequote all
coppice said:
Ratzenberger was a likeable , decent guy who worked his arse off to get into F1 and was quick enough to belong . . Like some of the FF1600 cohort he raced with , he made it , Many never even tried Bloody good for him say I
Ratzenberger certainly deserved a shot. As you say, he worked his arse off and whilst the results weren't there in the lower formulae, attitude and dedication was and sometimes this is enough. He'd bagged the Jordan drive the same year but his sponsor pulled out at the 11th hour.

Pay drivers have been a thing for ever in F1. What's happening today though is that some drivers are being fast-tracked through the system regardless of on-track performance as part of some marketing strategy or to appease the desires of ambitious fathers. This devalues F2, F3 and ultimately, F1 which positions itself as the pinnacle of motor sporting excellence; a claim of dubious relevance when you look as some drivers that aren't racing in favour of some who are that have no right to be so based upon their quality as a racing driver.



entropy

4,135 posts

168 months

Monday 3rd May
quotequote all
coppice said:
who cares who pays the bills?
If only more people had that attitude.