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Head and Newey accused as Senna trial reopens

BOLOGNA, Italy, Nov 19- An Italian magistrate urged a court on Friday to hand Williams team technical director Patrick Head and former chief designer Adrian Newey one-year suspended sentences in relation to the death of Ayrton Senna. The call was made on the opening day of an appeal against the 1997 aquittal of Head and Newey on manslaughter charges. Prosecuting magistrate Rinaldo Rosini told the court that a poor weld on Senna's steering column had snapped as the Brazilian three-times world motor racing champion entered the notorious Tambarello curve at the Imola race track on May 1, 1994. He said this caused Senna to lose control of his car and smash into a concrete wall at 220 kph. Rosini said that Head and Newey, as two of the most senior technical officials in the Williams team at the time, should be held responsible. The accusation is the same as that made at the original trial of Head, Newey and four other defendants including team chief Frank Williams. 
All six men were aquitted in December 1997. 
In the appeal hearing Head and Newey again deny all charges. Rosini argued that the sentencing judge at the first trial had never dismissed the prosecution's argument. "The reconstruction of the crash made by the sentencing judge marries exactly with the reconstruction put forward by the prosecution," he said. Head and Newey, who were not in court, have always maintained that Senna's steering column was broken by the impact of the crash rather than a poor weld. Their lawyers said on Friday that even if the prosecution's theory could be proven, it was absurd to hold the team's technical director and chief designer responsible. Senna, one of the most gifted drivers in Formula One history, suffered severe head injuries in the crash on lap seven of the San Marino Grand Prix. He died a few hours later. A life-sized bronze statue of him marks the crash spot. In the week's leading up to the fateful race, Senna's steering column was cut, expanded and rewelded to satisfy his demand for more space inside the cockpit. Frank Williams said during the original trial that he thought the cause of the crash would never be known. 

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