Sakon Yamamoto to replace Bruno Senna at HRT at Silverstone

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sakon Yamamoto, HRT, Istanbul, 2010

HRT reserve driver Sakon Yamamoto will take the place of Bruno Senna in both of tomorrow’s practice sessions for the British Grand Prix.

The team refused to confirm claims that Yamamoto will drive throughout the race weekend but other sources are reporting team principal Colin Kolles has stated Senna will not drive for the team at all at Silverstone.

Further details are expected tomorrow.

Yamamoto started 14 F1 races for Super Aguri and Spyker in 2006 and 2007. He last drove for HRT in the first practice session of the European Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Read more: Sakon Yamamoto biography

Image (C) Motioncompany

136 comments on “Sakon Yamamoto to replace Bruno Senna at HRT at Silverstone”

  1. Very sad, Senna has been faster in qualifying than Chandok. Even though he has had less impressive results in the races, he certainly deserves better than to be replaced by a Yamamoto. A matter of money I suppose. I would not be surprised to see the HRT go to 107+% if they do stick that guy in for qualifying. He better be worth a lot of money!

    1. Let’s hope the rumours of that happening are enough to get the Senna backers who are late with their payment a wake up call to hand over the money immediately and save Senna’s drive.

      If i remember rightly, it’s not the first time Kolles did some pretty messy moving around with drivers (during the Midland times).

    2. miguelF1O (@)
      9th July 2010, 0:46

      waht senna faster than chandok im no fan of chandok but he has been impressive catalunya qually was an example

  2. Untitled258
    8th July 2010, 20:03

    Even if it is a matter of money, i bloody hate it when a driver gets picked because he is a pay driver over someone with talent.

    1. Sush Meerkat
      8th July 2010, 20:51

      Thats the point, Senna is supposed to be a pay driver, Sakon is not.

      1. miguelF1O (@)
        9th July 2010, 0:48

        sorry but everybody knows that senna is there cause of his last name there are a lot of great fast drivers running on gp2 or other champs even chandok is faster so what can they do i wanted him to be good but hes not and he stole the place of another rookie maybe di resta or even other brazilian there are some more talented

        1. Honestly? You do know Senna was one of those fast drivers from GP2 right?

          And has out-qualified his team mate pretty consistently this season.

        2. Sakon is also a pay drive – every driver that races for Hispania Racing is supposed to pay for his seat. I would charge Sakon double the price because he will probably wreck that car.
          Bruno Senna has cleaned the floor with Chandok in GP2 and has performed better than him in F1. When it comes to di Resta or anybody else, racing for HR is a dubious blessing: Even Alonso or Hamilton would suck if they had to drive it and when you are a new driver, you have a lot to prove.

    2. Senna has that ‘Banco Cruzeiro do Sul’ personal sponsor and Chandock has nothing that i can see. nor does Yamamoto.

      1. Chandhok has Jk Tyres

        1. @Rahim RG. LMAO.. not a lot of non-indians would know about JK tyres. Thats pretty damn hilarious

          1. That’s not the point. The point is JK Tyres and Amaron are two companies that sponsor him. Although their logos for some reason doesn’t appear on the cars!

    3. And thats where the argument of sport vs entertainment comes into it.

  3. Ditching the faster driver to insert a pay driver? Chandok must be bringing in more money than the Senna name. Another sterling job of financial auditing by the FIA….

    1. I am pretty sure Eclestone is bankrolling Karun, in a bid to get into India. I would bet on it.

      1. hmm…. it does sound like that.

      2. That’s something I would have never thought of, but now that you mention it, it makes sense. Ecclestone had made it public long before Chandok arrived in F1 that he wanted an Indian driver on the grid.

        I think Chandok has done pretty well though. And I really dislike the idea of having Sakon Yamamoto in F1…and I’m Japanese! Who’s next? Yuji Ide?

        I’d rather have Takuma back in F1. Imagine he and Kamui locking horns at the end of a long straight away. Have there ever been two more aggressive AND dangerous drivers?

      3. Believe me, i wud never go to my home gp to watch karun driving fr HRT..he can just be a small little temptation but too small. I wud go to watch the big names..:)

        1. Then again there is something about home team and home driver, it is always fun to cheer for them even if it helps them being second from last.

  4. Shame on HRT,lost all respect for them
    why replace him,been doing a solid job this year and why Yamamoto is usless,a crash machine who shouldn’t be let near an F1 car

  5. Boooooooooooooo!

    1. Worst. Swap. Ever.

      1. Ever. Swap. Worst.

        How many sponsors do HRT actually have?

        ( I did a google on HRT Valencia, so find an image of the car, and this is what I found HRT concept car)

        1. Yamamoto’s gonna have it rough, this is disgusting. Does this mean he’s gone for good?

          This makes me so angry.

          1. I really hope Yamamoto is at least 10 seconds off Chandhoks pace, all weekend.

          2. I read on a dutch site yesterday morning, that Senna is looking only at HRT for next year.
            Maybe this is part of a hard boiled negotiation between Kolles and Senna for that drive and we’ll see him back after signing the contracts.

            I sure hope so, Yamamoto did not do anything to impress in Super Aguri nor at Spyker (compared to his team mates).

  6. Untitled259
    8th July 2010, 20:07

    …and I bloody hate it when a driver gets picked because he has a name made famous by his uncle or father.

    1. Untitled258
      8th July 2010, 20:14

      I see what you did there.

      1. Sush Meerkat
        8th July 2010, 20:52

        I get the distinct feeling your the same guy replying to yourself.

  7. if HRT want to move up the grid then they need a quick good driver with links to sponsors, Senna is that. Chandok is just a slow driver with luck in the races and ends up having good results as the other drivers in front race and have accidents so chandok is lucky!

    HRT are going down in estimation.

    Why not use Klien instead? he is better than yamamoto and chandok!

    1. I agree, Senna has been much better than Chandhok and I’d prefer to see Klien used too.

      1. I can only presume yamamoto must be bringing in a huge sponsor?

    2. He has worse money backing him up!

  8. I don’t quite get this… after all, the biggest sponsor (in terms of space on the car) appears to come from Senna’s sponsors…

    I can’t say I’m impressed by this. Either Yamamoto drives the race or Senna goes in to Qualifying with only FP3 under his belt…

    1. I don’t quite get this… after all, the biggest sponsor (in terms of space on the car) appears to come from Senna’s sponsors…

      Really?? I thought “Karun” and “Senna” (even “Bruno”) took up the same 5 letter space!?!


    2. Or maybe Embratel will not be on the car any more in Silverstone.

      1. As far as I can tell all the sponsors apart from Bridgestone are Senna’s, Embratel and Banco Cruzeiro do Sul, so surely they wont be on the car this weekend?

  9. Disappointing if true. Senna has done well so far this year. He’s been quick in qualifying (compared to his team-mate) and unlucky with car issues in the races.

    I guess HRT is a business first and a racing team second (without the business there is no racing). Sometimes business decisions need to be made for the good of the team and the other employees of HRT who have mortgages to pay and family to look after.

    Bad news for Senna, but if it’s the only way to keep the team going this season, what can they do?

    1. I now recall why I was worried when Kolles was mentioned as running HRT – I seem to recall him liking to do this sort of things while at Spyker (but maybe the Dutch channel was full of Albers at the time, so I had a skewed view?) and also at FI.

  10. The BBC are reporting that Senna has possibly been dropped for the entire season.

    1. Wow, he really must be bringing a lot of money.

      1. “he really must be bringing a lot of money”

        He must but the question is where on earth has Yamamoto got the money from? Surely it can’t be sponsors based on his speed…

        1. Got that messed up hang on. ‘Yamamoto’should just be in italics but apparently I haven’t mastered the easy art of being able to end them

          1. In life, you need to be able to finish what you have s

          2. I chortled out loud. Thank you Hare. :)

  11. Very sad indeed. They’ve lost a lot of respect in my book of ‘People & Things I Respect’!

    1. I sympathize with you, but I will play Devil’s advocate: Obviously the only reason they would replace Yamamoto with Senna is because he brings more money (Devil don’t care if you think Senna brings more money, the fact that they’ve done this surely shows otherwise). Clearly HRT need this money if they do this half way through the season to their best driver. So wouldn’t you prefer them to have a pay driver (or two) and continue racing, rather than them go bankrupt and stop racing altogether?

      1. I can see what you did there. Very well made point.

  12. Very Weird. I would assume it is a financial thing, and ironically Kolles was running Spyker when that happened to them in 2007 if I recall correctly. Also it was Yamamoto who replaced Albers, who was sacked. I believe that Bruno Senna’s main sponsor was Embratel. Joe Saward’s blog makes it seem as if HRT want more money for this race, though.
    Bruno’s Twitter feed has nothing new.

    Now all we need is a comment from Mr. E…. (Headline-Eccelstone:”HRT was bound to fail.”

  13. I get it; they need money but I don’t like it. What the team needs to survive comes first though.

    Senna has been the quickest of the two generally and maybe has the biggest sponsors so it seems a mystery why it wasn’t Karun. I remember that the new teams could go to Bernie if they got into trouble, Karun and him are close and F1 needs an Indian driver so if Karun hasn’t got as much money behind him as Bruno perhaps that’s why he was spared. That’s just speculation/mulling thoughts from me though.

    1. Senna was the biggest appeal about HRT for me. I can’t see how this move is going to help them other than immediate financial gain. But a lot of people, including fans and potential sponsors are going to be unhappy with this.

      The ‘love factor’ is gonna be seriously dialled down.

  14. Actually thinking about it they may need a new paint job on the car and couldn’t afford to change Bruno. Karun has the ‘k’ and ‘n’ already whereas Bruno just has the ‘n’. We’ll soon know if we see very squashed up righting. Just kidding by the way!

    1. There might be something true about that!

      What if this is a power play by Kolles to get some Senna backers to pay a larger amount, or maybe commit for a long term deal?

      He is known for being very single minded.

      1. or even Simple minded lol

    2. *writing Sorry I have no idea where my English went there.
      “What if this is a power play by Kolles to get some Senna backers to pay a larger amount”
      Possibly but he runs the risk of Senna backers pulling out all together if they think Senna won’t get a seat or it isn’t worth it.

      1. The other option is, the Senna backers have already pulled out and are trying to get a deal done with someone else (Sauber, STR, the 13th team) instead of pouring money in a hopeless case.

  15. Very sad. Was looking forward to seeing Senna on track at Silverstone. Hope he is given a drive next year! Poor guy deserves a break.

  16. HRT are rediculous.


    As it happens I think Bruno will get a better drive. Especially if somebody at another team screws up.

    All the word seems to be that he has been completely replaced, it completely angers me, he hasn’t done a bad job at all.

  17. Fred Schechter
    8th July 2010, 20:52

    As great as it will be for Sakon to be in an F1 car, he’ll be in an HRT with limited testing for a short period of time prior to a full F1 race. Is he properly prepped?!
    Bummer for Senna, he was doing well. I think the only time Karun beat him was in tweeting (Karun, the best tweeter in the paddock by far).
    Ugh #PayDriveDebacle

  18. I dont really mind. Anyone is faster than Senna.

    1. Except Chandhok and di Grassi

      1. And except for the fact that Chandhok is 20th in the WDC and Senna is 23rd…

        1. “And except for the fact that Chandhok is 20th in the WDC and Senna is 23rd…”

          Doesn’t mean that much when they have a car as unreliable as a HRT.

  19. HounslowBusGarage
    8th July 2010, 21:15

    What is the likely performance of HRT at one of the fastest GP’s of the year?
    That bad, eh?
    In which case, this is the perfect event to ‘rest’ Senna and pick up a few dollars running Yamamoto.
    Might happen at Spa and Monza too.

    1. i was thinking the same. good point.

  20. Remember MR E wants Karun in because of the new India race ! without an idian driver he can’t tap into that part of the world for money ! Shame about bruno i thought he was doing a solid job no?

  21. I have a better idea: replace Chandhok with Yuji Ide, and then Ide and Yamamoto can win races by crashing into everyone in front of them. Familiar, eh?

  22. For HRT (who are borderline surviving), racing has to be about business to some extent right now. If HRT’s choices are survival, or running Senna, I’d go with Yamamoto as well. Senna won’t be without a job for long though, if he looses his HRT seat, he’ll likely have first dibs of any better seat which opens up in the silly season (Algursuari, Petrov, Trulli, etc.)

    1. Good point. I’d even add the possibility of a vacant seat at Mercedes next year to your list.

  23. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    8th July 2010, 21:29

    In Murray Walkers words ‘absoooolllluuuutellly Fannnntasssticccc?????…….. bloody disgrace!!!!’

    1. And Senna will be ‘ FURious!’

      1. Alex White
        9th July 2010, 0:57

        “Unless I’m very much mistaken.. And I am very much mistaken!”

        1. Yamamoto is shedding buckets of adrenaline in that car!

          1. Ah, F1 97 memories!

  24. Good job they have that new BBC GPS graphic. We’ll be able to easily count all the cars that get taken out by Yamamoto at turn 1 on the 1st lap

    1. Less Yamamoto, more Ramamoto, is that what you’re suggesting? ;)

    2. Yamamoto has never really crashed into anyone. You must have him confused with Ide. Yamamoto mostly just finished the races a couple of laps down.

      1. I must say I agree with you on this one, people are being very harsh on Yamamoto. He never struck me as someone who crashed often. In fact, the biggest accident I remember him having was the one with Fisichella, which wasn’t his fault!

  25. Hold on. How bad is Yamamoto? He did not set the world ablaze in lower classes but he is no Deletraz. He even won a race, once. Kobayashi was no great shakes in GP2 but now his poster is in everyone’s locker, practically. Chandok certainly did not dominate his GP2 seasons and he is rated on par with Bruno Senna. Frankly I don’t expect him to do much worse than Chandok.

    1. Well, you might be righ about the last thing. The car is bad enough for it to not really matter who they put in, as it will be in the back anyhow.

      But Yamomoto did some far from impressive driving at Super aguri compared to his team mate (Sato, i think) and at Spyker, so it would be a real big suprise to see him having a inspired drive.

  26. Erm, hang on. I’ve got £13.83 in my pocket. Judging by how quick the HRT is(not) that should buy my a race seat for the 2nd half of the season, if not stage a complete buy-out of the team!

    Move on Bruno, your association with this shower isn’t good for your career. You have the talent for much greater things with WAY better managed teams!

  27. Maybe on a more positive note, what if this driver change is only a stop gap thing before a new owner steps in, take over HRT immediately and bring in a new driver. It might not be coincidence ART pulled out now, they might have got a better opportunity. Or maybe some Hurley money involved in a deal?

    Lopez back with government support?
    Or maybe Jaques Villeneuve to have a high profile driver (not being fast will not even be noticable with that car)?

  28. If Senna is replaced at the midpoint in the season whatever might Codemasters do with the spot for their game to be released in September?

    1. Senna in, I dont want to be Yamamoto’s team mate in the first season of career mode :(

    2. They’d probably have Senna in the game anyway. The other games just have the starting grid from the first race. Though it would be nice if they could update driver line ups.

  29. Let the “Senna to Ferrari/Red Bull/Renault” rumours commence!

    1. Senna to Ferrari, now that would be awesome. Ridiculous! But awesome :)

      1. I disagree, I dont really want him to be Alonso’s number 2, Would much rather him at McLaren :D

  30. If this is the case for the whole GP weekend, I have to say I feel a little enraged. Chandok has finished more GPs than Senna, but Senna is a far quicker driver and has had worse luck than Chandok.

    What gets me is that why Yamomoto? Liuzzi is not only far quicker, but far better too.

    I really dont know how to react to this. I’m very aggrivated that Yamomoto is taking part in both practice sessions. Surely it would better if he took Senna’s in place in one sessoin and then Chandoks in the next? Argh. Very annoyed. Senna is the better driver overall – this is backed up by feeder series results.

    Sort it Kolles, you’re making a mistake.

    1. Liuzzi? Do you mean Klien?

      1. I did indeed. Was a little drunk whilst typing that rant =P

  31. Oh well…. HRT obviously want to relate better to the ‘hormone replacement therapy’ that their name as a TLA most certainly relates to for most people in the English speaking world. Rather than Yamamoto, perhaps they should’ve got someone who is on HRT? Their cars seem to be stable as your average HRT recipient.

    I don’t think Senna has particularly shone in the same way as his uncle perhaps, but he’s certainly seemed the better driver so far in that team. HRT still seem to be a bit of a joke outfit. I wonder if they’d just have been better off doing a USF1 and not turning up at all, but I guess they had already bought a couple of chassis.

    Personally, I’d prefer to see Senna driving a Lotus alongside Heikki Kovalainen next year. Trulli needs to get back to his charities and vineyards. He’s lost interest…. spent too long developing a Toyota that never worked. But Heikki and Bruno together?… Could be a nice combination.

    BTW… looking at the new photo at the bottom of the page, you lost weight Keith? And a few years in age?

  32. Charles Carroll
    9th July 2010, 1:13

    My guess is that Cypher will sign him and shortly after the photo op, go out of business.

  33. I cannot for the life of me explain this one. Sure, Yakamoto no doubt brings gazillions to the team – but wouldn’t common sense dictate that if this is a one-race thing, then you replace the slower guy? I guess it really does speak to deeper problems within the team.

    1. Well in the end, results matter the most. And it has been Chandhok delivering the results.

  34. My first though was “Are? You? Serious?” How do you ditch one of the most famous names in world motorsports for…..a glorified D.J.?

    It must be a move for money, otherwise there is no logical reasoning behind it. If they were replacing with a real promising young prospect, I would say “Maybe…” But SY isn’t the brightest talent in motor racing.

    A few days back I saw some posts on another blog that said HRT was having money problems and was for sale. That may be closer to reality than we think.

  35. Nothing appears at Bruno´s Twitter. It sucks, Senna it so much better than Chandock….and a turtle is faster than yamamoto!!! I lost all the respect for the HRT

  36. PD: Is the same horrible thing that´s bmw do in after Hockenheim 06, drop a great driver for a mid-grid one. Hope that this notices is only a rumour. (Please, excuse me for my horrible writted english)

    1. Are you referring to dropping Villeneuve for Kubica? In that instance I think BMW were completely justified, considering their respective performances! Do you really think Villeneuve would have achieved what Kubica did over his time with the team?

  37. This is what i send to the team (and the email address is

    “Es verdad que Bruno no corre? Estan locos? Realmente si es asi les acabo de perder todo el respeto y acaban de perder un fan. Dejar de lado a un gran piloto (El mas rapido del equipo) por una tortuga no es de personas inteligentes ni digno de un equipo de formula uno (Tal vez de BMW, y asi les fue). By the way, see what people think about your choice (De paso, miren lo que opina la gente sobre su eleccion. Si por lo menos hubieran elegido aun grande (Jacques Villeneuve, por ejemplo) o al mismo Klien, pero esto que hicieron fue desastroso…Montezemolo esta equivocado, ustedes no son de GP2….no son dignos ni de correr en el troncomovil de Pedro Picapiedra (Si es que esta noticia es cierta)

    Totalmente desilucionado (y sin los mejores deseos para el futuro del equipo si la noticia es cierta).

    Un ex fan del equipo”

  38. 8th July 2010
    The day when “HRT Fanbase” became an oxymoron in most peoples hearts.

    1. Hare, what means “oxymoron”? (I´m Ferrari fan, but, i use to “torcer” por Ayrton, and obviusly for Bruno too

      1. Conjoining contradictory terms, like ‘deafening silence’.

        Essentially, I’m supposing that HRT, have killed the passion of a lot of it’s fans (and F1 fans interest in HRT in general), by dropping Senna.

  39. Not sure why this have happen but I don’t think that this is a good idea of having a person with not F1 experience for two years in a car which is the slowest on the grid.
    I hope that this is not personal & Senna is back for the German GP.

  40. As poor as Yamamoto’s reputation might be, perhaps the team are simply trying to get a speed comparison relative to their regular drivers. The guy has as much F1 experience as both HRT drivers put together.

    That said, its still a silly decision. Surely destabilizing the team and breaking Senna’s confidence will do more damage later on.

    1. Charles Carroll
      9th July 2010, 4:56

      I agree with you on this. I saw the pictures of Bruno and Karun at Silverstone and also posing with Karun’s Cosworth engine at their factory, and it was smiles all around (they’re over at

      It kind of seems like this bomb was dropped without any notice for Bruno.

      1. Also I imagine the PR department would rather Senna was there rather than Yamamoto for the Cosworth shot.

  41. Amateur hour at HRT. Terrible decision, but I see it playing out in Senna’s favor with other teams opening doors by the silly season… at the latest.

    1. I hope he gets a better drive for next season, were do you think he could go? I was thinking maybe FI, as Sutil could go to Renault and I read that Mallya was looking at Senna for 2009 :)

  42. Senna is just a name. Teams have already realised that he does not have huge amounts talent because if he did don’t you think a top team would have already signed him up before now? He is not 20 anymore…

    1. You do realize he only started racing again a couple of years ago? he wasnt racing when he was 20…

  43. What does the drive have to do with anything? We know the car is bogus however he has not delivered. Do you think Ayrton would have broken even with Chandok in his first season? No chance.

  44. Chandhok has proved himself……keep it going Karun

  45. But to say things as they really are , Senna has not exactly set the F1 world alight , has he ?

    1. What chance has he had? He is a rookie in the slowest car on the grid…

      1. As true as that is, I certainly expected him to beat Chandhok on a more regular and consistent basis than what he has done, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

        1. But the car is just so unreliable. It’s just not fair to really judge things. Senna does appear to have more pace, but has suffered a little more with reliability than Karun.

          Senna ability is really the issue. It’s clearly a financial decision.

  46. I wo’nt agree that senna is faster than chandhok.When you see the qualifying fight between them ie 6-3, you can leave three races one at bahrain,the season opener,the other two-canada && ——,where chandhok had engine failures.So it becomes 3-3.NOW COMPARE THEM!!!!!!!!????????

  47. it’s funny that the senna name seems to attracts less money than the yamamoto name…

  48. I’m guessing but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s actually Senna who’s walking away from this so called team, who’s car is a joke!

  49. We should never base driving talent by name, other wise I will change my surname to Senaa and apply to drive :p

  50. Jean Doublet
    9th July 2010, 10:01

    Kolles was afraid Bruno would start filiming the race from his cockpit with a cell phone. He couldn’t take such a risk….

  51. Jean Doublet
    9th July 2010, 10:03

    Kolles was afraid Bruno would start filming the race from his cockpit with his cell phone…

  52. Can’t believe Senna is unable to bring the money.

    Senna has the name, and Chandok has Bernie’s backing, the 2 drivers are both warm, jocular, decently talented AND they brought in the money too (or so I thought). The 2 drivers were the only good thing about the team. It is sad to see one of them leave.

    But one must question Senna’s manager. What *has* he been upto if not garnering funds for his driver?

  53. Let’s wait tomorrow to see if he’ll drive also in qualifying and race.

    1. Senna has been dropped for the season,i have just herd it on bbc red button!!!!

    2. Senna has been dropped for the season,i have just herd it on bbc red button!!!!

  54. It’s a shame that Senna has been replaced by Yamamoto for the British GP, and at such short notice too.

    Given their financial situation I suppose it isn’t that surprising that the have gone for the driver with more backing, but still.

  55. It might be a case of both Senna and Chandoks money still not being enough so they have to give Yamamoto a few races to unlock the funds that he is bringing. So far Kolles has said that its only for the British GP and a decision will be made over the course of the weekend on what to do next.

  56. Breaking News!!

    Senna has been dropped for the season,i have just herd it on bbc red button!!!!

    1. Apparently not… I wish they would tell us!

      The BBC have just said he is keeping his seat.

      1. they need to make their mind up!

  57. It disgusts me that HRT have decided to replace Senna. A man who is racing for free because he is desperate to drive an F1 car with a guy who is going to be back at square 1. Senna has spend the last 9 races getting up to speed. Why do they think Yamamoto is just going to come along and be faster?

    This could damage Brunos career massively. He had to sit out last year, now he’s going to get bad press from this incident. (If they don’t bring him back)

    To replace him for the British Grand Prix is very unfair. He spends most of his time in the UK & has most of his fans here.

  58. On Bruno´s Twtitter

    “Cycled round new-look track with Karun yesterday. Changes look pretty good
    about 22 hours ago via web”

    Obviously Bruno have not an idea about the Kolles cheat. From now, HRT suc…. for me. This was a horrible choice. Bruno is no Ayrton but is a very very good driver. He show it in the past leagues

  59. MMMM remembering that something like this pass to Ayrton on Toleman on 1984….

  60. Deja vu?? Maybe the birth of a new legend?

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