The death of Frentzen and Senna: “It was such a shock” / Formula 1

The death of Frentzen and Senna: “It was such a shock” / Formula 1

In 1994, Heinz-Harald Frentzen drove his first season in Formula 1, and the German experienced several tragedies. He also turned down Williams’ offer.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was in a good mood, happy and excited. He made his Formula 1 debut in 1994, driving for Sauber and had a great start to his rookie season, scoring his first points in the second race.

But then came a black weekend in Imola, where Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died.

In the Beyond the Grid podcast, the German looks back on the third weekend of the race and its results, including himself, mainly mentally of course.

“It was a big shock. It was unbelievable. You thought you were in another world. You come from the top and suddenly you are at the bottom. Then you wonder if the game we are doing is really necessary and if we should take too many risks,” said Frentzen.

He didn’t want to go home afterwards and traveled to Austria to sort himself out. “And at the end of the day I said. ‘Listen, that’s what I like. That’s what I like. Your time has come, it’s come. But you can’t let go of all the dreams you built before. This is a dangerous job and we have to do it.’

Later, Frentzen’s teammate Karl Wendlinger suffered a fatal crash in Monaco – the next low blow for the team and Frentzen. He showed loyalty when he turned down an offer to drive for Williams as Senna’s replacement. Even if it wasn’t easy for him.

Frentzen recalls: “After the death of Ayrton Senna, I received a call from Frank asking me to come to Williams in ’94. I was very happy that I was at Sauber. I told Frank: ‘I can’t leave the team’. It was very difficult to come to Sauber and Sauber did everything to convince Mercedes that I was the right person, because Mercedes doubted that I was the right person. Peter did everything to ensure that I got a job in Formula 1. I said to Frank: ‘I’m very grateful that I got the chance that Sauber gave me in Formula 1. I can’t just leave the team after three or four races and start again. I can’t break my contract.’

Japan-GP, Suzuka Circuit

01. Max Verstappen (NL), Red Bull Racing, 1:30:58,421 h
02. Lando Norris (GB), McLaren, +19,387 sec
03. Oscar Piastri (AUS), McLaren, +36.494
04. Charles Leclerc (MC), Ferrari, +43,998
05. Lewis Hamilton (GB), Mercedes, +49,376
06. Carlos Sainz (E), Ferrari, +50,221
07. George Russell (GB), Mercedes, +57,659
08. Fernando Alonso (E), Aston Martin, +1:14.725
09. Esteban Ocon (F), Alpine, +1:19,678
10. Pierre Gasly (F), Alpine, +1:23,155
11. Liam Lawson (NZ), AlphaTauri, +1 Round
12. Yuki Tsunoda (J), AlphaTauri, +1 Round
13. Guanyu Zhou (RCH), Alfa Romeo, +1 Runde
14. Nico Hülkenberg (D), Haas, +1 lap
15. Kevin Magnussen (DK), Haas, +1 Lap
Alex Albon (T), Williams, collision damage
Logan Sargeant (USA), Williams, collision damage
Lance Stroll (CDN), Aston Martin, rear wing defect
Sergio Pérez (MEX), Red Bull Racing, Kollisionsschäden
Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Alfa Romeo, collision damage

World Championship Standings (after 16 out of 22 Grand Prix, including 3 out of 6 races)

the driver
01. Verstappen 400 points
02. Perez 223
03. Hamilton 190
04. Alonso 174
05. Sainz 150
06. Leclerc 135
07. Norris 115
08. Russell 115
09. Plate 57
10. Walk 47
11. Gas 46
12. Ocon 38
13. Albon 21
14. Hulkenberg 9
15. Bota 6
16. Zhou 4
17. Tsunoda 3
18. Magnussen 3
19. Lawson 2
20. Sergeant 0
21. De Vries 0
22. Ricciardo 0

Builders Cup
01. Red Bull Racing 623 Punkte
02. Mercedes 305
03. Ferrari 285
04. Aston Martin 221
05. McLaren 172
06. Alpine 84
07. Williams 21
08. Haas 12
09. Alfa Romeo 10
10. AlphaTauri 5