Bruno Senna to drive for Williams Renault in 2012

Following months of speculation, Williams has finally confirmed the long awaited news that Bruno Senna will drive for the team alongside Pastor Maldonado.

The 28-year-old Brazilian secured one of the two remaining seats in Formula One in 2012. He will take over Rubens Barrichello’s place at Williams.

Senna said: “I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. The team has a great heritage and I hope I can help write a good chapter in their history.

“The evaluation process has been intense and methodical but the time I have spent in the factory has demonstrated that the team has great people and all the resources needed to achieve better things this season.

Senna, the nephew of three-time world champion Ayrton, made his Grand Prix debut with the Hispania team back in 2010, but could not secure a seat for the start of the 2011 season.

He eventually replaced Nick Heidfeld at the Renault team from last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, but the team decided to hire Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for this season. Senna managed two points in eight races in last season’s campaign.

Rumours of Bruno Senna linking with Williams lasted for months and when the Grove-based team officially announce the news on January 17, a cause of celebration emerged from various motorsport forums and social network sites.

For Bruno Senna, he will get his chance to represent the great Williams team when he takes to the race track on February 9, the first day of official Formula One testing at Jerez.

The move is rich in symbolism. As his uncle, Ayrton Senna, was in his third race for Williams-Renault when he lost his life in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

“It will be very interesting to drive for a team that my uncle has driven for, particularly as quite a few of the people here actually worked with Ayrton. Hopefully we can bring back some memories and create some great new ones too.

“I also want to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today. I am very proud to be Brazilian and more motivated than ever to demonstrate what I can do. Ever since I first sat in a go-kart I never wanted to do anything else.”

The move means Rubens Barrichello looks set to be absent from Formula One for the first time in twenty years.

The Brazilian said on Twitter after the announcement that his “future is wide open”.

3 thoughts to “Bruno Senna to drive for Williams Renault in 2012”

  1. Bruno Senna insists that his capture of a Williams seat for 2012 was not just down to sponsorship – after revealing the exhaustive tests he was put through to show he was good enough for the drive.

    The Brazilian is bringing welcome backing from a number of sponsors, including long-time supporter Embratel, to a Williams team that is recovering from its worst ever season in F1.

    And although it was no secret that Williams had financial considerations to make, Senna was put through challenging simulator, fitness and track tests to ensure he was good enough to join the former champions.

    When asked by AUTOSPORT during a team teleconference if he felt the tests had proven that his signing was not just because of his sponsors, Senna said: “I am sure about that.

    “They have been putting us through the paces with all sorts of testing, and they did not even talk about the sponsorship at the start – they wanted to assess me before anything else.

    “The only way they would give me the chance was if they were comfortable with my performance. We did several tests and with that I am confident I can deliver.”

    As well as being evaluated on the Williams simulator, Senna worked with famous racing instructor Rob Wilson to further run through his capabilities.

    “We did a few days with Rob, and a few simulator days, and all of these have been essential for the team’s confidence. They put me through the paces and it was quite interesting to learn a few things.

    “I’ve been with Rob before for a bit when I came to England, but after so many years of racing, being with him again was much different and much more productive.”

    Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan said that the team was adamant that it would go for the best driver it could – rather than the one offering the highest money.

    “From our side we had an extensive driver evaluation programme with a handful of drivers, and we made the final decision based on raw pace, consistency, tyre management, technical feedback and mental capacity – and most importantly the potential impact they would have on the team,” he said.

    “I think in all those areas it was very clear that Bruno has not had a lot of experience in single seater racing, but has consistently shown improvement and real talent.

    “From our side, on the operations side, we are looking forward to working with him in what is an extremely important year for Williams regarding the relative poor season we had last season.”

    Gillan confirmed that Adrian Sutil had been on the shortlist of candidates for the drive, but in the end it was decided not to pursue a tie-up with him.

    “I don’t want to specifically talk about individual drivers, but Adrian was in our plans. However, based on everything that was laid out, Bruno for me and the team was the best way forward.”


    Q&A with Bruno Senna:

  2. Williams adamant it will be significantly stronger during 2012 Formula One season following the new signing of Bruno Senna. has the story.

    Williams’s Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan is adamant the team will take a significant step forward in performance this year following a difficult 2011.

    “Obviously it will be a quite a significant improvement in performance but that is our goal and I am reasonably confident looking forward that we will achieve that goal,” said Gillan during a teleconference after Williams confirmed Bruno Senna for the 2012 season.

    “We want to be consistently in the top ten, going through to Q3 and consistently scoring points. I am confident we can achieve that goal.”

    Williams endured a very disappointing campaign last year, scoring just five points on its way to ninth place in the standings.

    The Grove team has made several changes to its structure in the hope of fighting back in 2012, when it will also be using Renault engines.

    Gillan says Williams has altered its processes dramatically in order to make sure the 2011 errors are not repeated.

    He added: “The overall development of the car is going well and on plan. The car build has started and the processes has dramatically changed from last season to make sure we capture faults along the way as quickly as possible and not have as many issues as last season.

    “Generally, the performance trend looks encouraging and the processes on the design side have dramatically changed.”

    Senna, who has 20 F1 races under his belt, will partner Pastor Maldonado, who made his grand prix debut with the team last year.

    Gillan sees the inexperienced line-up as an opportunity for the team.

    “It obviously puts added pressure on the operations side, but to me it is an opportunity,” he said. “We have three reasonably inexperienced drivers but three with great potential and it is up to us as a team and the drivers to effectively unlock that potential throughout the season and maximise the performance.”

    Senna said the team and himself are aiming to start the season strongly and to be in a position to fight for the points in every race.

    “We have talked with the team, and the intention is for the team to be back to scoring points, in the top ten pretty much every race weekend,” said Senna.

    “Of course with the car performance we want to bring that to the race weekend. We hope that the pre-season goals mean we can attack from race one, be very competitive with Pastor and everyone else.”

  3. Bruno Senna says his family has given its full blessing to his tie-up with Williams this year, despite his uncle Ayrton losing his life with the team back in 1994.

    Williams ended months of speculation about the identity of its second driver on Tuesday when it announced that Senna will line-up alongside Pastor Maldonado for 2012.

    The move comes 18 years after three-time world champion Ayrton Senna was killed in a crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

    Reflecting on the emotions of driving for the team that has carried the badge of his uncle ever since that Imola weekend, Bruno said: “I believe that things happen in life for a reason, but there is no negativity from my family. They are thrilled about it.

    “Everybody is ecstatic; I spoke to my grandparents before I spoke to my mother. My grandmother was so happy, and my grandfather had a great laugh. In the family everyone is smiling, everyone has worked hard for it, and it is a family business. We have a great unity and everyone is super happy.”

    Senna believes there will be no more pressure on him to deliver with Williams that there has been since he began racing.

    “It is something that has been constant in my career,” he said. “I’ve been in the spotlight and it hasn’t been a problem. It has made me learn the hard way about how to cope with pressure, and I’ve been able to deal with it. Last year there was a great deal of pressure with the circumstance, and in some ways it went the right way.”

    And although the Williams deal means that fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello has almost certainly been left without an F1 drive, Senna reckons it will not affect his relationship with the most experienced man in F1 history.

    “I haven’t had the chance to speak to him, but me and Rubens have had a great relationship ever since we met,” he explained. “It is motor racing, it is sport. There is always the chance that one person going in will be another going out, and there is no personal feelings on that. It is just sport. Rubens is well aware of that.”


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