The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will host number of tributes to honour the late Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, 25 years after the events of the tragic San Marino Grand Prix.
This week will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the events of the race weekend, that saw two drivers: Simtek‘s Roland Ratzenberger and three-time world champion Ayrton Senna succumb to their injuries in separate accidents during qualifying and in the race.
The weekend at San Marino also saw several accidents occur. Rubens Barrichello crashed heavily during Friday Practice, knocking him unconscious. JJ Lehto and Pedro Lamy had a huge crash at the start of the race, sending debris into the grandstands and injuring nine spectators, and Michele Alboreto suffered a wheel failure during a pit stop, with the loose wheel striking two Lotus and Ferrari mechanics as the Minardi driver left his pit box.
As a mark of respect, the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix will host several tributes towards Senna and Ratzenberger, including a half Brazilian and half Austrian flag merging together which will be presented to the winner of the Grand Prix.
The flag is a nod towards Senna, who planned to carry and wave the Austrian flag after the race as a tribute towards Ratzenberger, who tragically died the day before the race. The flag was found in the cockpit of Senna’s Williams FW16 and originally planed to wave it on the podium after the Grand Prix.
Smaller versions of the flag will be handed out to fans during the podium celebrations of the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix.
“25 years later, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, wants to make that tribute happen, the tribute that Senna had prepared for Ratzenberger,” said in a statement released by the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“With this idea in mind, the Catalan racetrack has created an Austrian-Brazilian flag, merging the nationalities of both drivers, which the attending spectators shall show at the Circuit, and which the winner of the Grand Prix shall show on the highest step of the podium, in order to complete the tribute that never happened, on behalf of Ayrton Senna.
“Thus, we will not only be paying tribute to the Brazilian driver, one of the world’s most important drivers in motorsport history, but also to Ratzenberger.”
On Wednesday 8 May, a life-size sculpture of Senna, created by British sculpture and portrait painter Paul Oz, will be presented in Palau Robert in Barcelona, alongside an exhibit of 15 classic F1 cars available to the public.
On the Thursday, the same sculpture will travel to the circuit, where it’ll be placed in the commercial area behind the main grandstand. Graffiti artist Axe Colours will perform live in creating a work of art over the weekend, joining in commemoration of Senna, creating an image of the driver.
Moments before the race starts on Sunday, further tributes will be made towards Senna and Ratzenberger in the opening ceremony.