1994 was a very dark year for motor sports, but specifically for Formula One racing. This is because an icon of the sport was killed on May 1 at the San Marino Grand Prix. Three-time Formula One champion Ayrton Senna was killed when his car smashed into the wall after failing to come out of a turn. His death sent shock waves throughout the sports world. The fact that one of the sport’s biggest and brightest stars could be killed during a race sent a message that track safety conditions needed to be looked at. However, Senna’s death was the second on that track in two days. A day earlier, a driver by the name of Roland Ratzenberger was killed in a crash that happened during qualifying. Max Mosley, elected as the head of FIA a year earlier, took it upon himself to make the sport he loved safer for all of the drivers. Here are the Formula One safety standards introduced by Mosley in the wake of the tragic events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
1. Crash testing of chassis
The disintegration of the chassis of a car upon impact has been the cause of numerous deaths in racing over the years. Mosley sought to limit this in the future by mandating extensive crash testing on all chassis used in Formula One cars.
2. Re-designing certain tracks
Many of the tracks used to hold Formula One races had developed the reputation of being extremely dangerous. The track used in San Marino was known for being particularly treacherous, even before the shocking events of 1994. Mosley made a list of all the Formula One tracks that he deemed to be problematic in terms of safety. He them formed a committee for the purpose of overseeing the re-design of these specific tracks in order to make them safer.
3. The HANS device
The HANS device was introduced in an effort to limit injuries to the necks of drivers during crashes.
4. Grooved tires
The use of grooved tires was started so that cars would not be able to maintain high speeds during turns. Senna’s high rate of speed during a turn was the reason he lost control of his car.
5. Engine power and capacity was reduced
These changes were made in an effort to lower the speeds the cars are capable of going, making them easier to control.