Q and A with Bruno Senna Rookie racer Bruno Senna joined veteran drivers Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli at the Albert Park circuit in Australia this afternoon where he was quizzed on several topics including his debut race in Bahrain, his new HRT team and last but not least, his heritage....
Bruno, how tough was Bahrain?
It was a pretty big challenge. The team arrived there with no previous preparation and everything had to be done there and we struggled a little bit. We couldn’t learn from previous experience, so we had to do everything on the few laps we had and it didn’t make our lives easy but the team still did a pretty amazing job to be there and get both cars on the grid.
What has been happening since then to the team?
Obviously there is a big check list of things that need to be changed. With no testing and no time to test between the first two races there are no big changes, a few changes but not enough. But we hope that by Europe we can have some updates, some new things on the car, which will improve performance and reliability.
It is a massive learning curve for you and the team. Lotus at least have experienced drivers.
I think both for the new teams and the new drivers it is very important to get some miles of testing. It would be great for us if we could test a little bit when we get to Europe after the first races as we could take many of the kinks, the very basic things that we could have been able to sort out with a few miles of testing, get them sorted out, and I believe that it would make everyone’s live much better, both the new teams and the current teams considering that these guys have to overtake us a few more times than necessary if we were a bit quicker and more prepared.
Bruno, you had a lot of problems with your hydraulics in Bahrain. Has the team been able to fix that and what are the chances of you being able to go race distance?
I didn’t have so many problems with the hydraulics. There were a few problems with the clutch. On my car, the hydraulics were fairly reliable. The problem we had in the race was just a metal brace that broke on the water radiator pipes, so the engine ran out of water. These little things have been fixed, so I think we should be able to finish the race, that’s our objective this time, finish the race. Hopefully we will be able to do that. We were quite close to finishing the race last time out. It was a shame that we got that problem, but it was just because of no testing. These sorts of problems happen when the installation is very new. They are not supposed to happen in public really.
Bruno, last year you said on several occasions how irritating it was that 99 percent of journalists asked you only one question which was about the relationship and expectations of you because of your family name. I’m interested in your family name. My wife is South American and she takes both her parent’s names, her father’s name first and mother’s name second. I’m interested to know what is in your passport: are you Bruno Lalli, Bruno Lalli Senna or are you Bruno Senna?
I am Bruno Senna Lalli. That’s my birth name. In Brazil, we chose the names we want. There’s no effective rule for what names you carry on from your family.
So in fact the choice of name was yours, so you can’t really blame the journalists from majoring on it.
Not my choice! There was no point in starting my career racing as Bruno Lalli, because as soon as people found out that I was related to Ayrton people would call me a coward for trying to run away from it. So there was no point to it. I just assumed that the natural way was that people would call me Bruno Senna. I don’t have a choice with that.
Bruno, with the name that you have, isn’t it hard to start your career with an objective of just trying to finish a race?
I don’t see myself as being different to anyone just because I have the name. Obviously it would be great to start in a car in which I could be fighting for a win. But this is the opportunity that I’ve been presented with but obviously I’m not only here because of my surname. I have results in my short career that qualify me to have a super license, so I guess I’m entitled to be here as much as anyone else with the same results.
Michael Schumacher was slower than his team-mate in all free practices, in qualifying and in the race in Bahrain. What happened, and can Michael Schumacher come back to being the Michael Schumacher that we knew?
It’s very easy to judge someone from one race weekend, it’s his first race weekend in three years in Formula One. He’s proved himself a lot in his whole career, so there’s no reason to doubt that he can achieve great things again. It’s hard to see what’s going to happen, the results he’s going to achieve, but I don’t think talent runs away from you.