Vettel: Finishing Senna’s Job with Austrian flag tribute at F1 Imola

An affective Sebastian Vettel claimed that he was "finishing the job" of Ayrton Senna's intended homage to Roland Ratzenberger by flying the Austrian flag during his Formula 1 demo run in Imola.

(Motorspots news) The devastating accident that claimed Senna’s life at Imola on May 1, 1994, which happened the day after Austrian Ratzenberger was killed in a crash, occurred 30 years ago this month.

The Williams driver was rocked at the time by Ratzenberger’s passing, which came just after Senna’s countryman Rubens Barrichello had a devastating practice crash.

Marshals discovered an unfolded Austrian flag in Senna’s wrecked car, which he planned to wave as a farewell to the Simtek driver on the cool-down lap.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel arranged a lavish homage to Senna and Ratzenberger, complete with a demo run in the Brazilian’s 1993 McLaren MP4/8, which he owns, with the Senna family’s approval.

Vettel claimed that by flying the Brazilian and Austrian flags simultaneously throughout the run, he was able to “finish the job” that Senna had in mind.

“Obviously, the Brazilian flag was clear, because it was something that he used to do after the races,” Vettel said.

However, I am aware of the same tale [about Senna’s prepared Austrian flag]. I was considering if trying to complete the task is the appropriate thing to do.

“I don’t think it will ever be completed; the main goal is to just help people remember, not to get it done.

“When I removed the flag and then the both of them, it felt really amazing. For me, it was an incredibly meaningful and unique weekend.”

After a 15-year career with BMW, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Ferrari, and Aston Martin, Vettel announced his retirement from Formula One at the end of 2022. He added that his tribute run elicited “one of the strongest emotions” of his career.

When asked if the demo made him cry, to which the Italian tifosi responded warmly, Vettel said, “Yes, without a doubt.

It’s hard to describe, but even though I was alone on the track and not even competing, I believe it was one of the strongest feelings I’ve ever experienced when driving.

“Absolutely amazing. The people’s reaction when I pulled out the flags was incredible.

“I’m glad I had the guts to approach my concept and extend an invitation to the Senna family. And I only received compliments.

“His kindness and bravery in voicing his opinions. promoting education and working to combat poverty in his nation.

“As a person of that era and as a racing driver in particular, he was ahead of the game in many respects.

“And therefore it’s a very important and powerful story to share, especially with young drivers coming up.”

Also read: Ferrari announces ex-Mercedes F1 men D’ambrosio’s arrivement, Serra


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