Japandroids – ‘The House That Heaven Built’ for… Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna

The late Brazilian auto racing champion Ayrton Senna

Published on Jul 19, 2012

This is a video for the full song “The House that Heaven Built” by Japandroids from their album “Celebration Rock.”

The footage from the film is from the documentary “Senna”, based on the life and career of  Formula One Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, one of  the greatest race car drivers  in history.   Ayrton won three Formula One world championships.  He was killed in what was first believed to be an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. It was later found, during the trial, that the steering column on Senna’s car was modified before the race and snapped as Ayrton Senna went into Tamburello. The Italian prosecutor asked for Frank Williams, Formula One team owner of Williams to be tried for alleged manslaughter over the death of Ayrton Senna. He also asked for the indictment of Williams team officials, technical director Patrick Head and two senior officials of the Imola race circuit. Senna remains the last driver fatality in Formula One.   Ayrton Senna was a Brazilian hero in a time his country needed one, and a humble man with every reason not to be.  As his profile rose, Senna expressed concern over the widespread poverty in Brazil.  After his death it was discovered that he had quietly donated millions of his personal fortune (estimated at around $400 million) to help poor children.  Shortly before his death, he created the framework for an organization dedicated to Brazilian children, which later became Instituto Ayrton Senna.  If you haven’t seen the documentary, I highly recommend it and I’m not a racing fan. His final race, which ended in his tragic death, can be seen in the footage in the above video.  R.I.P. Ayrton Senna (1960-1994)

The intensity of the video theme backed by the Droids’ song,  trigger the adrenaline and anxiety that make you feel you’re right there in Imola watching how the accident happened and hoping that Ayrton can survive the crash. Unfortunately, he didn’t.

** Watch the Senna film at the end of this page. You have to watch it in Youtube.

Ayrton Senna – The Face of a Champion

For several years, Japanese photographer Norio Koike had been Ayrton’s private photographer. Koike followed him everywhere, always quiet and discreet, working tirelessly and almost unnoticed.

Right after the accident, he was deeply upset. After Ayrton’s death had been officially reported, Norio sought out Leonardo Senna, handed over his entire enormous collection of photographic equipment and vanished. No one has seen him since.

The cause of the accident? Following an examination of the pictures shot from Schumacher’s onboard camera, French TV came up with the first theories.

Using slow motion, experienced reporter Jean-Louis Moncet studied the view from the German’s Benetton, which had been running in 2nd place.

According to the French channel, a small piece could be seen dangling from underneath the Williams which flew off the track immediately after this.

Immediately after the wreckage of the Williams had been towed back to the pits, and before it was confiscated by the Italian authorities, mechanics from the team removed the “black box” data acquisition equipment with the consent of FIA Technical Delegate Charles Whiting.

This electronic tell-tale would evidently have to be surrendered eventually to the Italian courts, but while it was still in the hands of Williams and Renault, the team had access to vital information about what had happened in the moments before the car crashed into the wall.

The Italian magazine Autosprint raised the suspicion, one week after the accident, that the steering column had broken.

Although none of the doctors or nurses remember having removed the steering wheel, photographs of the car after the accident indicate that the wheel was not removed from the column by releasing the catch which allows the driver to get in and out of the cramped cockpit.

Only a careful analysis of the materials could reveal if this break took place before the crash or during it.

According to the Italian press, the leaked report suggests that the fracture occurred, or was beginning to occur, in the few seconds before the Williams ran off the road.

From the data available Patrick Head is not inclined to suspect a flaw in the suspension, as with the weight of some 2,600kg (the aerodynamic load at that speed, plus the weight of the car) of which some 65% would have been on the right hand side on a left curve, the car would have crashed and dragged along the ground far more violently.

However, on the concrete before the wall, there is a long score made by a metal part dragged forcibly along. Could this have been a piece of the suspension?

The outcome of expert inspections and reports released by the Italian Courts to the world press confirmed the suspicions brought up by Italy’s Autosprint magazine: the Williams steering column broke.

According to the first clinical bulletin read by Dr. Maria Teresa Fiandri at 4.30 p.m. Ayrton Senna had brain damage with haemorrhaged shock and deep coma.

However, the medical staff did not note any chest or abdomen wound. The hammerhead was due to the rupture of the temporal artery.

The neurosurgeon who examined Ayrton Senna at the hospital mentioned that the circumstances did not call for surgery because the wound was generalised in the cranium.

At 6.05 p.m. Dr. Fiandri read another communiqué, her voice shaking, announcing that Senna was dead. At that stage he was still connected to the equipment that maintained his heartbeat.

The release by the Italian authorities of the results of Ayrton Senna’s autopsy, revealing that the driver had died instantaneously during the race at Imola, ignited still more controversy.

Now there were questions about the reactions of the race director and the medical authorities. Although spokespersons for the hospital had stated that Senna was still breathing on arrival in Bologna, the autopsy on Ratzenberger indicated that death had been instantaneous.

Under Italian law, a death within the confines of the circuit would have required the cancellation of the entire race meeting.

That in turn, would have prevented the death of a three-times champion.

The relevant Italian legislation stipulates that when a death takes place during a sporting event, it should be immediately halted and the area sealed off for examination.

In the case of Ratzenberger, this would have meant the cancellation of both Saturday’s qualifying session and the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday.

Medical experts are unable to state whether or not Ayrton Senna died instantaneously. Nevertheless, they were well aware that his chances of survival were slight.

Had he remained alive, the brain damage would have left him severely handicapped. Accidents such as this are almost fatal, with survivors suffering irreversible brain damage.

This is due to the effects on the brain of sudden deceleration, which causes structural damage to the brain tissues. Estimates of the forces involved in Ayrton’s accident suggest a rate of deceleration equivalent to a 30 metre vertical drop, landing head-first.

Evidence offered at the autopsy revealed that the impact of this 208km/h crash caused multiple injuries at the base of the cranium, resulting in respiratory insufficiency.

There was crushing of the brain (which was forced against the wall of the cranium causing oedema and hammerhead, increasing intra-cranial pressure and causing brain death), together with the rupture of the temporal artery, hammerhead in the respiratory passages and the consequent heart failure.

There are two opposing theories on the issue of whether the drivers were still alive when they were put in the helicopters that carried them to hospital. Assuming both Ratzenberger and Senna had died instantaneously, the race organisers might have delayed any announcement in order to avoid being forced to cancel the meeting, thus protecting their financial interests.

Had the meeting been cancelled, Sagis – the organisation which administers the Imola circuit – stood to lose an estimated US$6.5 million.

The alternative theory suggests that the drivers were alive on leaving Imola, and that they died in hospital. Professor Sid Watkins has maintained that Ayrton was still alive when he was removed.

Following a momentary failure, technically his heart was still beating. “His chances of survival would have been very limited, due to serious brain damage”, was the opinion, necessarily guarded, of the FIA expert.

A supporter of this first theory, the Director of the Oporto (Portugal) Legal Medicine Institute, Professor Pinto da Costa, has stated the following:

“From the ethical viewpoint, the procedure used for Ayrton’s body was wrong. It involved dysthanasia, which means that a person has been kept alive improperly after biological death has taken place due to brain injuries so serious that the patient would never have been able to remain alive without mechanical means of support. There would have been no prospect of normal life and relationships.”

“Whether or not Ayrton was removed from the car while his heart was beating” adds Pinto da Costa, “or whether his supply of blood had halted or was still flowing, is irrelevant to the determination of when he died.”

“The autopsy showed that the crash caused multiple fractures at the base of the cranium, crushing the forehead and rupturing the temporal artery with hammerhead in the respiratory passages. It is possible to resuscitate a dead person immediately after the heart stops through cardio-respiratory processes.”

“The procedure is known as putting the patient on the machine. From the medical-legal viewpoint, in Ayrton’s case, there is a subtle point: resuscitation measures were implemented. From the ethical point of view this might well be condemned because the measures were not intended to be of strictly medical benefit to the patient but rather because they suited the commercial interest of the organisation. Resuscitation did in fact take place, with the tracheotomy performed, while the activity of the heart was restored with the assistance of cardio-respiratory devices.”

“The attitude in question was certainly controversial. Any physician would know there was no possibility whatsoever of successfully restoring life in the condition in which Senna had been found.”

Professor Jose Pratas Vital, Director of the Egas Moniz hospital in Lisbon, a neurosurgeon and Head of the Medical Staff at the Portuguese GP, offers a different opinion:

“The people who conducted the autopsy stated that, on the evidence of his injuries, Senna was dead. They could not say that. He had injuries which lead to his death, but at that point the heart may still have been functioning.”

Pratas Vital also mentions that the medical personnel attending an injured person, and who perceives that the heart is still beating, have only two courses of action:

“One is to ensure that the patient’s respiratory passages remain free, which means that he can breathe. They had to carry out an emergency tracheotomy. With oxygen, and the heart beating, there is another concern, which is loss of blood. These are the steps to be followed in any case involving serious injury, whether on the street or on a racetrack.”

“The rescue team can think of nothing else at that moment except to assist the patient, particularly by immobilising the cervical area. Then the injured person must be taken immediately to the intensive care unit of the nearest hospital”, Pratas Vital concludes.

Ayrton Senna (The movie) 4 videos. You have to watch the videos in YouTube.

Ayrton Senna – The Right To Win – Full
Uploaded on Apr 16, 2011
Senna’s extreme will to win, his phenomenal concentration, his rivalry with Prost, his tremendous mental and physical condition and his final race at Imola in 1994

Sources: YouTube, The Senna Files, Wikipedia, Google

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