Roland Ratzenberger was a late bloomer in Formula 1. The Austrian is already 33 when his dream finally comes true. Ratzenberger will get a contract for five races at the modest Simtek team. “But imagine there is not too much for”, said the Salzburg at the time, laughing. “The wages of Gerhard Berger (his illustrious compatriot at Ferrari, ed.) is many times higher than the total budget of our team.”
In his first race, the Grand prix of Brazil, touched Ratzenberger not by the qualifications. A few weeks later he gets in Japan, however, the starting grid and ends there handsome eleventh. On Saturday 30 april 1994, ‘The Rat’, his nickname in the rijderswereldje, for the qualifiers in San Marino. Just before the Villeneuve Curva’ goes wrong. The front wing of the Simtek breaks off and ends up under the car. Ratzenberger hit the control about his car, completely lost and crashes with a speed of 315 km/h against a concrete wall. Nasty they are, the images of the motionless Ratzenberger in his car, the head in an unnatural position. The reanimatiepogingen of the medical team are live on television. On the way to the hospital died the F1-pilot to his injuries. Diagnosis: broken neck and facial. “The death of Roland was the worst moment in my career,” Gerhard Berger will later say.