Races, tracks, drivers and all the drama that comes along with it
Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:42 am
for the 1st time I seen the wreck that killed Aryton Senna.
I read that they took the racing team to court & found them guilty!
Now I was saddened when he was killed, but every week tons of mistakes are made on race cars. How do you take a team to court for a wreck? What is it I dont know?
Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:34 am
... that anybody can sue anybody else over anything.
"My lawyer can beat up your lawyer."
It's just what our society has become.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:14 am
So true, there is a car that runs around my town, it is a Honda s2000, nice car, but the kicker is his license plate reads: I SUE U 2. Ridiculous.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:37 am
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_A ... enna#Trial
The Williams team was entangled for many years in a court case with Italian prosecutors over manslaughter charges, ending in a guilty verdict for Patrick Head. The Italian Court of Appeal, on April 13, 2007, stated the following in the verdict numbered 15050: "It has been determined that the accident was caused by a steering column failure. This failure was caused by badly designed and badly executed modifications. The responsibility of this falls on Patrick Head, culpable of omitted control". The initial trial in 1997 resulted in acquittals after the judge ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case, but a retrial was ordered by Italy's highest court. Patrick Head was not arrested as the sentence was backdated to the time of the crash, 1 May 1994. The limitation under Italian law for culpable homicide was 7 years and 6 months, and the verdict was pronounced 13 years after the accident.
The charges focused on the car's steering column, which was found to have sheared off at a point where a modification had been made. The prosecution charged that the column had failed causing the accident, and Williams contended that it had failed on impact. Senna did not like the position of the steering wheel relative to his seating position and had asked for it to be changed. Patrick Head and Adrian Newey agreed to Senna's request to lengthen the FW16's steering column, but there was no time to manufacture a longer steering shaft. The existing shaft was instead cut, extended with a smaller-diameter piece of tubing and welded together with reinforcing plates.
A 600-page technical report was submitted by Bologna University under Professor of Engineering Enrico Lorenzini and his team of specialists. The report concluded that fatigue cracks had developed through most of the steering column at the point where it had broken. Lorenzini stated: "It had been badly welded together about a third of the way down and couldn't stand the strain of the race. We discovered scratches on the crack in the steering rod. It seemed like the job had been done in a hurry but I can't say how long before the race. Someone had tried to smooth over the join following the welding. I have never seen anything like it. I believe the rod was faulty and probably cracked even during the warm-up. Moments before the crash only a tiny piece was left connected and therefore the car didn't respond in the bend."
An analysis of the onboard camera video was submitted by Cineca, which tracked the movement of the steering wheel during the race. Having rotated in a fixed arc during the previous laps, during the final seconds a yellow button on the wheel moved several centimetres away from its normal trajectory, with the steering wheel tilting in its own plane, indicating a breaking steering column. Williams introduced its own video to prove the movement was normal in which David Coulthard manhandled an FW16B steering wheel, the effort required to deflect the wheel termed as "quite considerable". Coulthard's testimony stood in contradiction to that of Michele Alboreto, who testified that the steering wheel movement was abnormal.
During the trials, a regional technical commissioner named Fabrizio Nosco testified that both of the vehicle's black boxes were intact, except for minor scratches. He said "I have seen thousands of these devices and removed them for checks. The two boxes were intact, even though they had some scratches. The Williams device looked to have survived the crash." In a move that apparently breached FIA regulations, Charlie Whiting, an FIA official, handed the black boxes to Williams before the regulating body's own investigation into the accident. Williams claimed the black boxes were unreadable, and the boxes returned for the court proceedings were indeed unreadable, a full month after the accident.
Summary: a modification to the steering column was believed to be the culprit by the prosecution, and they charged that it was badly executed. He was basically dead when he got in the car because it was going to fail.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:05 pm
but the extension on the steering is what he wanted. He asked for it because the cars didnt handle like before since they took away their "black box" that helped with traction control.
I mean that is like Dale Sr. had his seat not installed properly because it was how he wanted it, but no one sued RCR.
I dont know. I dont want to get in a big debate over this tragedy, but where do you draw the line. Do we start sueing competitiors that caused a wreck if someone is injured or killed?
Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:43 pm
I believe there were numerous investigations into Earnhardt's death. I think RCR wasn't sued because Earnhardt refused to wear the HANS device that was available at the time and he didn't like being restrained by a tight seatbelt. I heard the seatbelt was torn, but that could have been because he liked them loose. I never heard that his seat was not installed properly though.
The way I look at the Senna thing is that even though he requested it be moved, he would have expected it to be done properly. From what I read it seemed that they threw it together. Lawsuits like these in the U.S. examine the percentage of fault or negligence by all parties. I don't know what they do in Italy.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:19 pm
Rochelle is right. There were numerous of police investigations after Dale's accident. But since Dale didn't wear a Hans device and didn't like his seat belt tight, there wasn't enough grounds for a lawsuit. From what I know his seat belt snapped in half.
With Senna's deal after I watched his documentary and saw his accident they spoke about his reason of death. If his head had been hit at a different angle, he probably would have walked away. Williams deserved to be sued. A bad part cost a man his life. No different when Toyota got sued after people died when their throttles hung. People should be punished for bad work when it costs someone their life.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:58 pm
Rochelle put it very nicely. He requested a change to the steering column, but the method used to make the change was very poorly done (according to wikipedia article) and the poor workmanship was what killed him, and that was the cause of the success of the lawsuit.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:11 pm
Dale Srs death had investigations but I dont think they were for suing purposes. Dale Sr. had his seat tilted back some, which apparently is a no no. Which was something I never knew about there was a certain way for those seats to be installed, until his death & the investigations.
I think if they thought the guy that welded the steering column did it on purpose, then I could see suing someone but they even talked jail time but by the time they did court proceedings the statute of limitations was up.
I dont know. I guess I could see both sides of this, but man, if that (suing) ever happened in american motorsports that would open up a whole can of worms. It would destroy american motorsports in my opinion.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:14 pm
HTower wrote:Rochelle put it very nicely. He requested a change to the steering column, but the method used to make the change was very poorly done (according to wikipedia article) and the poor workmanship was what killed him, and that was the cause of the success of the lawsuit.
who did the suing? Anyone know?
Family would be the only thing that makes sense. For monetary purposes, but still dont think prosecution should have been apart of it. (again unless they thought the guy did it on purpose)
Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:31 pm
I don't quite understand the manslaughter charges either but it didn't seem to be a personal lawsuit, but a trial brought on by a prosecutor of some sort. Again, I don't know anything about Italian law. To me, it was negligence. If they couldn't do it right by putting in a longer rod, he should have left it alone, regardless of what the driver wanted. Safety should come first. The black box stuff is very fishy though.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:38 pm
Rochelle wrote:I don't quite understand the manslaughter charges either but it didn't seem to be a personal lawsuit, but a trial brought on by a prosecutor of some sort. Again, I don't know anything about Italian law. To me, it was negligence. If they couldn't do it right by putting in a longer rod, he should have left it alone, regardless of what the driver wanted. Safety should come first. The black box stuff is very fishy though.
that was the 1st year they took away the black box & my understanding was Senna wasnt to happy about that. Even talked of bad wrecks coming. Who would thought he was predicting his own.
That race they had two deaths in two days I believe. I dont remember if they ever brought the black box back or not.
Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:05 am
I just read up on the Senna accident on Wikipedia. It was extremely interesting. Another driver, Roland Ratzenberger, had died the day before and there was some controversy. Per Italian law, if someone dies at the track, the whole event is cancelled. The race that killed Senna should have been cancelled but it wasn't. Some very strange things went on there. They even argued about whether Senna was alive when he was transported. That was a very tragic weekend.
Wow, thanks Schmoop, very interesting post
Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:45 am
yeah I saw that accident too. Vicious hit.
tell you what. If you watch the in car cameras of the F-1 drivers, you can see how hard they work in those cars. The sppeds they take some of those corners or how fast they have to slow down to negotiate the corners. I think a lot of fans that think they just run single file, would give them a lot more respect. The speeds they maneuver around the courses is amazing. Yes it is technology that allows it, but someone has to be steering & thinking of all those split seconds decisions.
The amount of G's they have to be going through in these races looks to me as a serious workout.
The most Haunting Wreck I have ever seen (not in person) was the Roger Williamson accident.
Showed the good & bad in the human race all in those few minutes. (IMO)
The saddest video I have ever seen (race video) Simply heartbreaking.
Thank God the safety crews nowadays are light years better than they were back then!
Got to give it to the open wheel racing series. I think they have the best Emergency guys in the business. By far!