Newey feels “guilty” about Ayrton Senna’s crash

In a brand new autobiography, “How to Build a Car”, Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer has revealed for an aerodynamic flaw that he was partially responsible for potentially cost Senna his life, and many more Formula 1 world titles in the making. Following the incident, the Williams Formula 1 team examined onboard video from Schumacher’s car and concluded that a failure with the steering column veered the Brazilian off the track.

Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994
Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994

However, the former Williams designer has now opened up about the incident, claiming that he does not believe the steering column had anything to do with the crash, rather it was failed aerodynamics that himself and Patrick Head were responsible for.

Speaking about the crash in the book, Newey described the incident blamed “two very bad pieces of engineering” which “Patrick [Head] and I were responsible for”.

“Regardless of whether that steering column caused the accident or not, there is no escaping the fact that it was a bad piece of design that should never have been allowed to get on the car.

“What I feel the most guilt about, though, is not the possibility that steering column failure may have caused the accident, because I don’t think it did, but the fact that I screwed up the aerodynamics of the car,

“I messed up the transition from active suspension [in 1993] back to passive and designed a car that was aerodynamically unstable, in which Ayrton attempted to do things the car was not capable of doing.”

“Whether he did or didn’t get a puncture, his taking the inside, faster-but-bumpier line in a car that was aerodynamically unstable would have made the car difficult to control, even for him.

“I will always feel a degree of responsibility for Ayrton’s death but not culpability” said Newey.

“The fact that the Ratzenberger case had been so easily swept under the carper left me suspicious that Passarini’s principal motivation might be personal glory and notoriety.”