Senna’s family ‘didn’t expect the worst’

Watching on TV, Ayrton Senna's family expected him to walk away from the San Marino crash that claimed his life, according to his nephew Bruno.

Next Thursday, 1 May, will be 20 years since the Formula 1 legend tragically lost his life when he crashed while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

It was a dark weekend in F1 history as earlier Roland Ratzenberger had been killed when the front wing of his car broke during qualifying, sending him into the wall.

Despite the sadness in the paddock, the drivers opted to race on Sunday.

Senna was leading when, on lap seven, his Williams left the track and he hit the wall at high speed. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Speaking about that day, Bruno told News Corp Australia: "For me and my family it doesn't feel that long when you think of 20 years, I mean 20 years is a long time but it has passed so quickly.

"For sure it doesn't feel like it, it feels only a few years ago."

He added: "I watched it on TV, I always watched it with my family and as a kid it's harder to understand because as a child you think he is just going to jump out of the car or he is going to be in the hospital for a few days then he is going to be out.

"You don't understand the severity of the situation, you can't snap your fingers, we didn't expect the worst. Then we got the news.

"For sure it changed a lot of things in my life and my family's life in general."

Bruno gave up racing in the immediate aftermath but years later returned to the track, competing in Formula 3 and later Formula 1. He even raced for Williams, the team that his uncle was with in 1994.

"It's part of life so you deal with it, we dealt with it the best way we could, life moved on but there was lots of things that happened after that (death).

"Even though it's a shame to say it this way, it did help the safety of the sport to improve fast. You see the cars getting more and more safe with different safety regulation changes but also tracks, the racing circuits, which are a lot safer today than they were back then.

"There's maybe a handful of tracks which are still more dangerous than most of the other tracks but in general the security standard is really high."

He added: "I was quick so I thought I could have a future. It was interesting to see there could be some future there but of course there was big divisions of opinions in my family, some were supportive some weren't.

"With time things mellowed and things changed and being successful in motor racing has become quite a good thing in my family and for me, but yes it was pretty tough.

"They didn't want a repeat of what happened to Aryton but with time they realized safety has moved on massively and I've had my big chance to prove cars are more safe these days.

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