Senna first in line for race seat at Renault

2011 F1 season

Bruno Senna, Eric Boullier, Valencia, 2011

Bruno Senna, Eric Boullier, Valencia, 2011

Renault team principal Eric Boullier says Bruno Senna will be the first driver the team call in if either of their regular drivers are unable to race.

Speaking at the launch of the Renault R31 in Valencia Boullier said:

I will get the one who is ready and obviously Bruno is the most ready driver.

Romain [Grosjean] is here as well but that is more a strategy to put back a French driver [in F1]. In France there is a concern now, they understood finally, no more Grand Prix, no whatever, and it’s part of the plan.
Eric Boullier

Senna and Grosjean are the team’s third drivers, and the team also have Jan Charouz, Ho-Pin Tung and Fairuz Fauzy (announced earlier this month) as reserve drivers.

Senna said:

It?s a really exciting opportunity from both Group Lotus and Lotus Renault GP.

To be able to develop my Formula One career within a World Championship winning organisation and to do so in conjunction with some hugely interesting work for such an iconic sports car company as Lotus is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Bruno Senna

Senna talked exclusively to F1 Fanatic at the Renault launch – check back later for the interview.

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53 comments on Senna first in line for race seat at Renault

  1. Ben N said on 31st January 2011, 14:02

    Brilliant! I really think Bruno is a lot better than he appeared last year! This is great news!

  2. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 31st January 2011, 14:05

    Keith, the guy on far right IS Ho-Pin Tung, obviously present at the launch.

  3. Helio said on 31st January 2011, 14:06

    Excellent news! Bruno really deserves a shot at a real drive in F1, which he totally did not had in HRT.

    Also, the Senna-Lotus-JPS publicity combo is an opportunity just too good to pass…

  4. Christian said on 31st January 2011, 14:08

    I think it’s pretty degrading and crude of Boullier to outright say that the only reason Roman Grosjean is at Renault is because of his nationality. Okay, it may be the reason, but you don’t say that in public. It implicitly says he’s not there because of talent, which I imagine to be a major put down for a driver. Now I’ve never been a fan of Grosjean, but that’s pretty harsh.

    • Depends how you interpret it, you could look at it being that he’s France’s best chance of a driver getting back into F1… If so, god help them!

      • bosyber said on 31st January 2011, 17:21

        Maybe it could even mean: look Senna is here because he has some money, and we want his name, so Grosjean has to be a bit patient for the moment, but his time will come.

    • Xanathos said on 31st January 2011, 15:20

      agreed – great way to motivate your reserve driver! Luckily they have a few other guys to fill in for him ;)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st January 2011, 15:27

      And I think it might not even be true. Probably more to do with his tyre development driving for Pirelli.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 31st January 2011, 18:11

      Also Bouiller said Senna was more ready, which is true, he’s just come off of 18 races of modern F1, compared to Grosjean’s lesser tally from 18 months ago.

      Mind you, don’t be too surprised to see a Senna-Grosjean partnership in 2012. I think that would be quite cool, actually.

  5. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 31st January 2011, 14:09

    Its good to put a bit of pressure on Petrov I guess. I reckon Senna may race this year, even if a one off in Brazil

    • Ben N said on 31st January 2011, 14:16

      I suspect he will have a run out or two as well!

    • verstappen said on 31st January 2011, 14:28

      Yeah, you never know when Petrov one of the regular drivers, gets – say – foodpoisoning

      • macahan said on 31st January 2011, 15:21

        They saw something in the HRT driver management style you think?

        I think I might a fairly good chance for a seat at Renault this year.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 31st January 2011, 22:03

      I reckon Senna may race this year, even if a one off in Brazil

      I think the FIA might have something to say about that. I seriously doubt teams would be allowed to give drivers a one-off race for marketing purposes.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 1st February 2011, 1:00

        As Colin Kolles proved last year, a team can run whoever they want whenever they want, switching drivers as often as they like, up to 4 drivers total. I believe 4 is the limit though according to the regulations.

      • Tom L. (@tom-l) said on 1st February 2011, 11:17

        It’s no different to talk of Loeb getting a one-off Toro Rosso drive a couple of years ago, or Chandhok’s various non-existent deals with clauses allowing him to drive in India…

  6. Tom23 (@tom23) said on 31st January 2011, 14:45

    Nor Senna and Petrov will score a podium in that ugly car!

  7. Robert McKay said on 31st January 2011, 15:03

    Renault in “being slightly over-prepared for reserve driver needs” shocker.

    First of all, the idea you can have two third drivers is excellent (clue is in the name, surely)!

    With all these third and reserve drivers Renault are only short of 4 for a football team :-D

    Hopefully they’ll all get to drive in Friday practice (joke…)!

  8. Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 31st January 2011, 15:16

    C’mon guys…leave some young drivers for the other teams… :-D

  9. Nathan said on 31st January 2011, 16:25

    this reminds me of a team last year called umm err.. hrt they had about 50 other drivers to!

  10. Calum (@calum) said on 31st January 2011, 17:17

    The irony is, there is an ING banner at the top of this page on my browser!!

  11. This move with Senna is genius one to attract attention of crowds and, of course, sponsors.
    Will see if it works though, becasue Lotus name saga can ruin that sweet masterplan.

  12. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 31st January 2011, 18:05

    I see Senna replacing Petrov sometime during the season

    • Gridlock said on 1st February 2011, 6:47

      Then you don’t understand how running an F1 team costs pocket money as far as the Russian elite are concerned, or the long-term benefits.

  13. Andy c said on 31st January 2011, 19:47

    Two excellent quotes today that made me smile.

    Kubica when asked how about his lotus he said they are a sponsor aren’t they. Brilliant robert!

    And senna stating he was really happy to get the opportunity. And that he had been trying to get into a ‘serious’ f1 programme for 2 years. Take that me kolles ;-)

    I have rated senna and last year proved nothing. You don’t become a bad driver by driving a poor, non developed car. I think he will get a race seat when Robert leaves at the end of tge year.

  14. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 1st February 2011, 0:12

    I’d like to see Bruno run some practise sessions and get a real feel for him in a (i’m assuming) decent car.

  15. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 1st February 2011, 1:46

    I don’t understand why is the team which isn’t financially strong is feeding 5 test drivers? Senna is good for the job too is Grosjean, then why three others?

    • Because Fauzy comes with Group Lotus money, so *not* having him would likely cost the team.

      He’s obviously not there to drive, look at the times he produce when at Lotus Racing last year!

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