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Senna on pole for STR seat - Buemi UPDATE #5 (GMM)  Bruno Senna this week admitted he is in promising negotiations to step up into a formula one race drive in 2009.

The 24-year-old Brazilian, who was born mere months before his late uncle Ayrton made his own grand prix debut in 1984, revealed that his good opening season in GP2 has led him to talks with F1 teams.

"I guess it gave me good possibilities to go to formula one next year," said Senna, who finished the sport's feeder series second behind champion Giorgio Pantano.

"We have been speaking with quite a few teams and there is great interest from a few of them," he told reporters at a Mercedes event in Germany.

"So there are a few opportunities as a race driver, a few as a test driver, but there is a lot of competition and I need to come ahead of the competition right now on the negotiations and see if I can get a race drive," Senna added.

It is believed that Toro Rosso - co-owned by a close friend of the Senna family, Gerhard Berger - is Senna's most promising opportunity to take up a spot on the 2009 Melbourne grid.

There are also openings at other teams, including Honda, but opportunities there are likely to be limited to test driver roles.

"Toro Rosso is one of the possibilities, not the only one, but it can make the whole difference and for sure he (Berger) still gives me great advice and help all the way," said Senna.

09/02/08 Not so fast says Senna - see this rumor update.

08/25/08 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today.  Bruno Senna has offered a choice rejoinder to raging speculation at Valencia that he has now signed to make his formula one debut next year with Toro Rosso.

It was also rumored on the verge of the European grand prix, scene also of the support category GP2 for which 24-year-old Senna competes, that the nephew of the great Ayrton Senna may be close to penning a back-up 'option' to become McLaren's test driver in 2009.

The Brazilian was asked specifically by reporters about the latest Toro Rosso story.

"Yeah, I've been hearing that story as well ... oh dear," he laughed, according to GPWeek.

'Oh dear' indeed, but is it true?

"No, it's all lies.  All bullshit," Bruno Senna replied.

08/08/08 (GMM)  Gerhard Berger has played down reports that suggest Bruno Senna, the 24-year-old nephew of the late Ayrton Senna, will almost certainly be signed by Toro Rosso for the 2009 season.

But Berger, the Faenza based team's co-owner who was Ayrton Senna's teammate at McLaren in the 90s and among his closest friends, said he is open to giving the Brazilian GP2 driver a test.

But as for suggestions that Senna's signing for next year is now merely a formality, the Austrian told the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report: "I am still not convinced."

Senna, in his second season of GP2 and currently second on the points table, is among three leading candidates to replace Sebastian Vettel, former grand prix winner Berger insists.

"Bruno Senna is good enough for formula one, but the same applies also to Roman Grosjean and Sebastien Buemi," the 48-year-old said.

"But so far, none of those three have totally convinced me.  You could say that I don't yet see a new Vettel," Berger explained.

He insists that it is not a certainty that Senna will ultimately be given a race seat for 2009.

"I'm willing to give him a test, but currently there are no concrete discussions about this," Berger added.

08/05/08 (GMM)  Bruno Senna stands a chance of landing the vacant Toro Rosso race seat in 2009 if he is the "best candidate", team co-owner and family friend Gerhard Berger said.

Berger, who has been closely involved in the 24-year-old Brazilian's career in the junior echelons of motor racing, was his late uncle Ayrton Senna's teammate at McLaren in the 90s.

Senna's burgeoning form in the feeder category GP2 has even attracted other F1 team chiefs' attention lately, but he is still most strongly tipped for a move to Faenza based STR in the place of Sebastian Vettel.

Berger told the Daily Telegraph that his personal connection to Senna, and the Brazilian's famous name, will not guarantee him a seat at his team.

The Austrian, himself a former ten-time grand prix winner, is under pressure to select Vettel's successor from the pool of Red Bull's junior drivers.

"I run a team in partnership with Red Bull, and shouldn't mix personal things with business," he said.

"But if Bruno is clearly the best candidate, then we'll discuss it anyway.  If he's GP2 champion, it doesn't matter what his name is."

07/19/08 (GMM)  Bruno Senna is in pole position to step into the Toro Rosso race seat for 2009, candidate Sebastien Buemi has said.

Red Bull test driver and teenager Buemi has also been mentioned for the drive, which has become available since Sebastian Vettel's departure at the end of the season was announced in Germany.

But GP2 driver Buemi, a Swiss, told the newspaper Tribune de Geneve: "I know that Gerhard Berger wants to put Bruno Senna in Vettel's place."

Team co-owner Gerhard Berger is otherwise keeping any plans he may have for Senna low-profile.

"In GP2 there are some good racers," the ten-time grand prix winner is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

"Romain Grosjean is one of them, and Buemi," Berger added.

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