The San Marino Grand Prix of 1994 is known as one of the worst weekends in all of motorsport – certainly within Formula 1. That weekend (April 29 – May 1, 1994) earned its reputation with three horrific on-track accidents that claimed the lives of two drivers and nearly claimed a third. Rubens Barrichello miraculously survived his crash on Friday, but Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna – a promising driver in his first F1 season and a legend looking for his fourth championship, respectively – did not survive theirs on Saturday and Sunday.
But that’s history we’re all very [painfully] familiar with. For now, let’s rewind a bit back to March of 1994. It’s a full day of Formula 1 testing at Imola, which in about two months will host the San Marino Grand Prix. Most teams and drivers are in attendance and they didn’t go all the way there to drive easy. And it’s all caught on glorious 90’s VHS by Georg Metz, one of many spectators who were there to soak it all in.
The video quality is obviously bad by today’s standards, but the sounds are still captured clearly and you can see well enough to pick out Barrichello, Ratzenberger, and Senna. Towards the beginning of the film, you can even see Ratzenberger and Senna driving together – through the corner where Ratzenberger was killed, no less.
For pure Formula 1 action and the heavenly sounds of a Ferrari 412T1 dive bombing into Tosa, you’re going to want to set aside eight minutes to watch this. It’s hauntingly beautiful.
[Source: Georg Metz, YouTube]