Bruno Senna happy despite losing Lotus F1 seat
Romain Grosjean will race alongside Kimi Räikkönen at Lotus next season – leaving Bruno Senna to look elsewhere if he wants to continue his Formula One career.
Grosjean, the 25-year-old two-times GP2 champion, competed in seven grands prix during the 2009 season – but will get a proper shot at F1 with the Enstone-based former Renault team next year, and with the 2007 world champion as his team-mate.
The announcement of the Frenchman leaves both Russian driver Vitaly Petrov and Senna hoping for other options in order to progress.
Yet Senna, who himself replaced Nick Heidfeld midway through last season, is upbeat about his situation.
“It has been pretty amazing to be honest,” said the nephew of F1 legend Ayrton Senna. “I mean, just to get a real chance in Formula One, and these guys gave me that chance to be in a much better position than I was at this time last year, and even in July.
“They gave me a great chance to prove what I can do and on quite a few occasions I have been very competitive, so it’s good to know that in a competitive car I can turn it out in Formula One and I think I’m looking forward to next year.”
The 28-year-old has 28 races under his belt, having started 2010 with new boys Hispania – the Spanish team could represent an option for Senna in 2012, although a reserve role at an established team may be more likely.
“I don’t know yet – I’m still working on next season, but as I said I think it’s looking much better than last season at this same time and let’s hope we can have good news.
“It’s difficult to say what’s going to happen, but I’ll always have Lotus in my heart.”
Senna was on hand to help Lotus open its new Originals shop at its Hethel base on Friday – the refurbished store the Norfolk marque has set as a template for its dealerships across the world; a portfolio it aims to increase over the coming years.
“It’s a great brand and I think the legacy carries and always creates inspiration for people,” added Senna, who successfully raced with Carleton Rode-based GP2 team Isport. Ayrton also had sturdy ties with the region as he worked his way through to the pinnacle of the sport.
Bruno added: “I love coming back to Norfolk, definitely. I’ll be meeting up with my (Carleton Rode-based GP2) Isport boys and catching up with them. And I haven’t seen the new Snetterton circuit but I hear it’s good.”
Racing his home track in Sao Paulo proved a great occasion for Senna and the perfect way for his season to end. What the Brazilian racer hopes now is that some of Formula One’s old guard give the chance for new blood to really make their mark on the calendar in the near future.
“Highlights? The Belgian GP was good, Monza was nice to score my first points, Singapore was good in terms of my performance compared to my team-mate, and I think in Brazil we nailed qualifying – that was pretty awesome and I guess we showed some good speed,” said Senna.
“It’s always special to race your home race. It’s a very different sensation when you have all the fans rooting for you and you always want to do well in your home race.
“In F1 some years more people go and there are other years where no one changes, so it’s good to see some drivers getting a chance. I think we need to see more younger drivers getting a real chance in Formula One though, to – let’s say – freshen it up.”
Grosjean is at least assured of that chance in 2012 and Lotus F1 team principal Eric Boullier said: “Romain has shown a lot of maturity in the past 12 months both through his GP2 Series victory and his development as third driver with us. We are confident that drafting him in to one of our driver’s seats will help us in our rebuilding process.
“I would like to thank Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for their contribution to the team’s performance this year and I wish them all the best for the future.” Norwich Advisor