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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Italy Puts Racers On Trial

By Piero Valsecchi

IMOLA, Italy -- Six top Formula One figures went on trial Thursday on manslaughter charges for the 1994 crash that killed three-time world champion driver Ayrton Senna.

Only one of the defendants, race organizer Federico Bendinelli, was present in the courtroom, a former ballroom converted to accommodate the crowd of reporters and spectators.

Senna suffered fatal head injuries when his car failed to take the Tamburello corner and smashed into a concrete wall during the initial laps of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

This is the first time F-1 officials have been brought to trial in Europe for a racing accident. International F-1 officials could ban races in Italy if there are convictions, the defendants say.

Judge Antonio Costanzo heard arguments on whether to allow cameras in the courtroom, then suspended proceedings in order to make a decision.

Bendinelli, circuit manager Giorgio Poggi and race director Roland Bruynseraede are accused of failing to provide enough room for cars to stop at the Tamburello corner. The fast corner was changed into an S-shaped bend to slow speeds after Senna's crash.