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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Top designers acquitted on Senna
The wreckage of Ayrton Senna's Williams after his crash in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix
Senna was killed in a high-speed crash at Imola in 1994
An Italian appeals court has acquitted two leading British Formula One engineers of the manslaughter of the Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna.

The court ruled that ex-Williams chief designer Adrian Newey was innocent.

The case against Williams director of engineering Patrick Head was "timed out" under a statute of limitations.

Italy's highest court ordered the case be re-heard because of procedural errors in an appeal in 1999. Both were acquitted in the original 1997 trial.

But this latest acquittal may not yet be the end of the protracted legal saga.

Head's defence lawyers said it was "largely probable" that they would take the case to Italy's highest appeals court to gain a full acquittal, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

Prosecutor Rinaldo Rosini had claimed that Newey, now with McLaren, and Head were to blame for a faulty steering column in Senna's car.

That is the same argument used by the prosecution in the original trial and first appeal, when it was alleged that the car's steering column had fatigued and broken, causing the 34-year-old Brazilian to lose control.

But Williams always maintained that Senna's car had speared off the road as a result of a complicated series of circumstances initially provoked by the driver.

The judge in both the original trial and the 1999 appeal ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.

Fresh Senna trial 'out of time'
11 May 05 |  Formula One
Berger pays Senna tribute
25 Apr 04 |  Formula One

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