Monday, May 10th, 1999, (3:49 pm)
‘Meanwhile’ has been going for, lets see, about a year and a half now? Something like that anyway. It’s great to be able to look back at what I have written in all that time (apart from the fact that I lost all my work up to August last year in a nasty computer crash). However, it has to be said that recently I haven’t been so good at keeping the ‘Reality’ going very well. Partly because I am just SO busy, and when I am not I just want to relax in front of the TV and put my brain in park or something.
In fact those of you who know me will know that my website is looking a little dusty right now. Certain areas of the site haven’t been updated in ages, and other areas (like WebWeek and Web Reference) have been quietly suffocated. You see it is really hard to keep a website up to date and interesting on a weekly basis. Even on a monthly basis is hard enough.
I’d love to be able to spend more time doing my site but the truth is I have other projects that are very time consuming. MELT and all the MELT sites take a quite unbelievable amount of time to upkeep. And because they represent my company, which after all pays me and keeps a roof over my head, those sites have to take priority over this one.
In fact it’s fair to say that the simon.jones bit of MELT.CO.UK is in need of a diet. So in the coming months expect to see some changes (yeah right, you’ve heard me say that before, right!). I intend to cull the areas of my site that no one ever visits anymore or that are long since dead.
Last week a few of you may have… [Click here to continue reading this article at ‘Meanwhile’]
Saturday, May 1st, 1999, (4:16 pm)
Ayrton Senna was three times a formula one world champion, holder of a record 65 pole positions and a near living legend of motor racing. Had he survived the accident that claimed his life back in 1994, he probably would have gone on to win more races, more championships and claim many more pole positions, thus insuring himself an even bigger chunk in racing history than he already had.
When he moved to the all conquering Williams team in 1994 it looked as if he was going to start a reign of dominance in Grand Prix racing the like of which the sport had never seen before. Sadly though, it was not to be.
Senna’s 1994 season had not got off to a good start. A spin at his home race in Brazil saw him retire and Michael Schumacher go on to win. A start line incident in Japan saw another race with no points for Senna and another Schumacher win. Going into round three at Imola, Ayrton was under pressure. He simply had to win the race to get his championship back on track. Schumacher had a 20 point lead that while not impossible to overcome, certainly added a sense of urgency to the proceedings for Senna and the Williams team.
The 1994 Williams FW16 car was not as good straight out of the box as the Benetton of Schumacher. The sports governing body (the FIA) had banned the use of traction control, active suspension and other devices that made the cars easier to drive. Both Senna and his team mate Damon Hill were complaining that the car was nervous and difficult to drive. However, Senna still managed to put the Williams on the pole for Sundays race. But Ayrton was uneasy. In Fridays qualifying his fellow countryman, Rubens Barichello, had been injured in a bad accident, and worse was to come. Austrian Roland Ratzenberger had a massive off while on a committed qualifying lap in Saturday’s session. The crash was relayed live over the television to the watching world. As his car came to a rest the Austrians head was slumped to one side in the cockpit, not moving at all. Medical crews were on the scene very quickly but it soon became obvious that Ratzenberger was in big trouble.
Senna like most people was visibly distressed by the accident. He defied the rules and went to the scene of the crash in a course car after Ratzenberger had been taken away. He wanted to speak to the marshals and inspect the scene for himself, after doing so he immediately withdrew from the remainder of the qualifying session.
Roland Ratzenberger had gone off at nearly 200mph and slammed into a concrete wall. He stood little chance of survival after such a huge impact and despite the best efforts of the track doctors Roland Ratzenberger died. It was the first fatality at a Grand Prix for some 12 years.
That night Senna was preoccupied. The weekend had so far claimed the life of one driver and injured another. Earlier in the year Senna had spoken about the banning of the electronic driving aids and said that while he agreed that more emphasis should go on the drivers skill “It was a great error to remove the electronics”. He went on to say… [Click here to continue reading this article at ‘Meanwhile’]