Ayrton Senna
Ayrton Senna

April 30th and May 1st 1994 was the darkest weekend in Formula One’s near 70-year history. Back in the early days, Formula One was a dangerous sport and many drivers perished along the way. But safety has improved a lot since then, but in 1994, tragedy struck twice. Rookie driver Roland Ratzenberger had lost his life during qualifying and a day later, Williams F1 driver, Ayrton Senna tragically perished.

Now, 25 years later, many still feel impacted by the passing of both drivers during that weekend. The Williams F1 team were also severely affected, as he was their driver at the time. Current Williams F1 boss, Claire Williams recently spoke about Senna and the aftermath.

“About a year later I remember being in a pub,” she explained. “I don’t know how he knew who I was, but a complete stranger came up to me and said: ‘Your dad is a murderer’.

“It hadn’t really sunk in about how people might feel about the accident. That’s not what happened but I guess some people are ignorant.”

“Frank never spoke to anyone about it.”

“That isn’t his personality. He isn’t one for therapy, or having long conversations.”

“He internalises and keeps it all in. That is how he has been brought up, but you can see the pain in his eyes every time he thinks about the accident.”

Williams F1
Aryton Senna in the Williams F1 car

She admitted that Senna was revered to an almost God-like status and it stayed that way for years and even decades.

According to her, the Williams F1 founder wanted with all his heart and mind to see the Brazilian in his Williams F1 race car.

Claire Williams continued, “In our film [released in 2017] there is a scene where Frank is at Ayrton’s funeral, and I have never seen my dad look like that.”

“I think that says it all. I am sure he felt far from well for many, many, many years, and still today he won’t talk about him.

“He will talk about what a great man Ayrton was, and what a great driver he was, but nothing to do with the accident.”

Williams F1
Williams F1 boss