Bruno Senna secures Williams drive for 2012

2012 F1 season

Bruno Senna, Williams, 2012

Bruno Senna joins Williams for 2012

Bruno Senna has secured one of the two remaining seats in F1 for 2012.

Senna will take Rubens Barrichello’s place at Williams.

He said: “I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. The team has a great heritage and I hope I can help write a good chapter in their history.

“The evaluation process has been intense and methodical but the time I have spent in the factory has demonstrated that the team has great people and all the resources needed to achieve better things this season.”

Senna made his F1 debut with HRT in 2010 and started eight races for Renault last year. Williams will use Renault engines once more this year.

The move is rich in symbolism. Ayrton Senna, Bruno’s uncle, was in his third race for Williams-Renault when he lost his life in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Senna added: “It will be very interesting to drive for a team that my uncle has driven for, particularly as quite a few of the people here actually worked with Ayrton. Hopefully we can bring back some memories and create some great new ones too.

“I also want to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today. I am very proud to be Brazilian and more motivated than ever to demonstrate what I can do. Ever since I first sat in a go-kart I never wanted to do anything else.”

Frank Williams said: “Bruno only started racing when he was 20 years old but quickly proved his talent in F3 and GP2.

“In a tightly fought 2008 GP2 season, Bruno finished second in the championship with notable victories in Monaco and Silverstone, the latter in the wet. The circumstances of Bruno?s two seasons in Formula One have not given him an ideal opportunity to deliver consistently so it was essential that we spent as much time with him as possible to understand and evaluate him as a driver.

“We have done this both on track and in our simulator and he has proven quick, technically insightful and above all capable of learning and applying his learning quickly and consistently. Now we are looking forward to seeing that talent in our race car.”

Barrichello, who will lose his place at the team to Senna, was the most successful Brazilian drivers in the years following Ayrton’s death, and wore a helmet in the style of his late idol’s in last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The only remaining seat left for the 2012 season is alongside Pedro de la Rosa at HRT.

See the updated list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams.

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226 comments on Bruno Senna secures Williams drive for 2012

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  1. taurus (@taurus) said on 17th January 2012, 12:16

    “Senna, Williams-Renault”

    Spooky.

  2. Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 17th January 2012, 12:16

    Worst kept secret ever!

  3. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 17th January 2012, 12:24

    This is a shame, not just for Rubens (who unless he lands the HRT seat, didn’t get the proper send off he deserves) but for Adrian Sutil. Yes, he only has himself to blame for what happened but in the latter half of 2011 he proved himself to be a quality driver who is worthy of a seat in one of the top teams, never mind the lower midfield. Then there’s the likes of Alguersuari and Buemi, both of whom I feel are better than Senna but are without a seat.

    • The problem with the candidates you’ve mentioned is that they’ve all had a fair shot at F1 in semi decenty cars and ultimately shown that they’re not worth the trouble. Bruno is really yet to have that.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th January 2012, 13:54

        Well, personally I think all those candidates @dan-thorn mentions really are better drivers than Bruno, @steph!

        But I guess both the team and Bruno will have a point to prove in the coming season, so let’s hope both make the most of it. At least they should have a clear target of finishing higher up the order!

        • Buemi and Alg basically battled it out to see who was acceptably average with only Buemi winning in my mind due to more bad luck and greater consistency. I could speak at length about how little Sutil’s achieved in five years in F1 but the silence of my keyboard when trying to list what he’s done says it all :P

          Bruno did a solid job in the HRT which was by far the worst car on the grid, came in the Renault with no experience and outqualified Vitaly. Sure, he’s been inconsistent but he’s had nowhere near as much time as those three and might have as much talent. I’m glad he’s getting a chance because of his lack of experience. Williams should have a superstar to bring them back but they’re not so they may as well go for a rookie who might be good than one of the three who have shown to be mediocre a lot of the time. I’m sorry if that’s harsh on them but they’ve had their chance and F1 and done very little. At the very least F1 should have some fresh blood.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 17th January 2012, 14:11

            I’ll also add that I believe (not exactly sure why) Williams when they say that based on their assessment of Senna that he came off very well. I wish I had sources, but I think I remember hearing good things from his engineers- either at Renault or HRT- who, having proper telemetry access, are best qualified to judge a driver’s pace.

            Also, about his evaluation, analysing him on-track sounds like he had a private test of some kind. I wonder if that would have been compared to their existing times or whether they tested a couple of drivers, and what class of car was driven.

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 17th January 2012, 16:21

            I liked him as a GP2 driver and his season with HRT was OK.

          • Mr draw said on 17th January 2012, 16:23

            Adrian did a solid job in the Spyker, which was by far the worst car on the grid. Overall I think he has done a good job in his four years at Force India. What kind of performances did you expect? Did you expect him to win a race or so in the fifth-fastest car at best?

          • Interesting. I really think ALG has performed well and shown future promise too. I don’t think Bruno has actually badly considering but if both him and Alg were in the same car I would be very surprised to see Bruno come out on top. In fact, I think most of us would bet for Alguersuari.

          • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 18th January 2012, 6:42

            +1 @Steph

      • Girts (@girts) said on 17th January 2012, 14:45

        @Steph I ain’t sure about Buemi but I believe Sutil has proved that he belongs to ‘tier 2′ of F1 drivers. Not exactly a superstar like Alonso, sometimes inconsistent but mostly a decent, solid, pretty strong driver just like Kovalainen, Webber, Glock, Barrichello or Fisichella. Sutil has outperformed most of his team mates so far and his performances were pretty equal to Fisichella’s when both were team mates.

        OK, Barrichello is really ‘old’ and should probably retire but Sutil is just 29. Should every F1 driver who has spent 5/4/3 years in F1 and hasn’t become a superstar leave and give way to new guys? I don’t think so. If that was the case, I believe we wouldn’t see Button in F1 these days.

        • Outperformed most of his team mates? I have to disagree. Fisi was his longest serving team mate irrc and was at the end of his career but generally Fisi still beat Sutil. The other two were Liuzzi and a rookie who immediately was more impressive, is already highly rated and just going to get better and beat Sutil more often. Sutil’s had more than enough time to show he can achieve something or deliver but he just hasn’t got it. I don’t really agree with your tier 2 assessment either but I can see where you’re coming from :):P

          As for your final paragraph no, but they have to show quickly that they have something worth keeping around. Sutil’s had half a decade and not done that.

  4. vickyy (@vickyy) said on 17th January 2012, 12:24

    This is nadir for williams.
    I have lost respect for this team, I mean two paid drivers!!
    I am aware of all financial implications behind the driver deals, but then how little teams like Force India, Sauber preferred meritocracy.

    • FI who get help from Mcl/Merc ? It’s easy for them. I don’t blame Williams if they need pay drivers and I think Bruno has some talent but it’s just a sad state of things. Plus, Pastor may be easy to hate but he did better against Rubens than the Hulk in the final qualifying scorecard

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 17th January 2012, 14:14

      Ok, sorry @vikky this isn’t necessarily a post in response to yours, it is a response to all of the people who will be crying “pay driver”:

      The world has changed. Corporates no longer have squillions of dollars to throw at F1 teams in order to showcase their brands at the highest level of sport. Because of this, F1 teams are starting to feel the pinch. I see no reason why we should all point and laugh at drivers who will have managed to get hold of an F1 seat for 2012 partly because they have a bit of a budget behind them, it is just a sign of the times. The world has changed and so has F1.

      And while I’m at it, the term “pay driver” doesn’t have the same connotations today as it did in the early 90’s. Drivers like Senna and Maldonado cannot be compared to pay drivers of yesteryear like Deletraz or Belmondo. Modern racing drivers have to come with skill and a budget, it’s just the way it is!

      • vickyy (@vickyy) said on 17th January 2012, 14:49

        @GeeMac : I could partially digests some of the things you highlighted.
        But emotions are bound to run high when proven players like Sutil, Alg, Petrov and Rubens are sidelined.
        I saw them perform, may be I may have to eat my words about Bruno, but the above 4 have more earned their places.

        • But emotions are bound to run high when proven players like Sutil, Alg, Petrov and Rubens are sidelined.

          Proven? In what? :P Sorry, couldn’t resist. Bruno isn’t proven but that isn’t always a bad thing. Maybe he’s worth a risk and the cash than any journeyman. Plus, if it is just about the money then if they only went with talent then the team maybe would collapse and we’d have two less drivers on the grid. Paydrivers aren’t always a bad thing- Lauda was one after all.

          • Toby Bushby (@toby-bushby) said on 18th January 2012, 9:37

            Maybe he’s worth a risk and the cash than any journeyman.

            I agree. Plus, for similar reasons to why Renault/Lotus took Raikkonen, Senna is valuable to Williams in more ways than one. Yes, he brings a fair budget boost (we all read), but he also brings potential and sellability – all of which Barrichello, Sutil and Jaime can’t match, I’m afraid.

            I’m going to back him. Maybe more should give him a full (including pre) season’s chance.

        • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 17th January 2012, 15:32

          @vickky I’m not saying they haven’t but the simple fact is that life isn’t fair, professional sport isn’t fair and F1 certainly isn’t fair!

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th January 2012, 16:05

          Not saying Bruno is a “pay driver”, although I think its undeniable, that the marketing appeal of the Senna name and the sponsors he brings in do him no little favour over other candidates.

          I will let an anecdote posted on twitter speak for me @adamcooperf1

          When @BSenna scored his first GP2 win, I asked Ron Dennis what it meant to see the name back. He just said it was a weak series!

          An interesting read about Bruno not being a pay driver is the autosport interview where he says Williams evaluated his skills thoroughly. I am sure they did (was that one of the reasons they did not agree with signing Kimi?), and I am sure Bruno is not unworthy of F1.

          But I do think Williams could have done better for a lineup

      • brombillaf1 (@brombillaf1) said on 17th January 2012, 23:47

        agree with you 100%

    • Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 17th January 2012, 14:23

      I think your wrong there Senna did show speed for Renault e.g Spa and he could have only beaten his team mate who was average in a car that wnet more backward than forwards.

      It will be very intriguing to see a Senna drive the WIlliams Renault, I never saw his uncle drive cause I wasn’t born but I hope this is not a nostalgic tug from Williams to attract sponsors and that they have a good car this season to get the last spots in Q3 and the points.

    • bpacman (@bpacman) said on 17th January 2012, 14:31

      Unless I’ve missed it, I don’t think Embratel have yet announced their sponsorship of Williams…judging by the logo on Bruno’s shirt, that press release must be imminent!

      Whilst I feel sorry for Barrichello and Sutil, I am quite excited to see how Senna gets on. Big risk for Williams taking two relatively inexperienced drivers – especially when they’re having a real problem developing quick cars – but hopefully it’ll pay off.

  5. Seems like Rubens is retiring from F1 whether he likes it or not. Certainly hoping he doesn’t choose to spend his final years at HRT relegated to the back of the field.

    • To add, I am thoroughly disappointed that the likes of Sutil, Jamie, Buemi and Heidfeld are without drives over lesser drivers including Senna, Maldonado, DeLa Rosa, and given current form, I’d include Trulli to that list. It only really is a battle for the top seats in the sport, and the rest of the field appears to be next to an advertisement billboard for sponsors or a rookie training facility. These are hardly the best drivers the world has to offer.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 17th January 2012, 19:26

        I think Bruno deserves the chance, but I agree that Maldonado, De La Rosa and Trulli do not deserve to be on the grid this year.

        Its a shame Sutil isn’t on the grid.

        • Fernando Cruz said on 18th January 2012, 0:11

          Maldonado was better than Barrichello in some itens in 2011, so I think he deserves to be in F1. Overall he did better than Hulkenberg did in 2010 and he will give a hard time to Bruno this year. I believe he would do the same even with Sutil, as he has one year experience within the team.

    • claudioff (@claudioff) said on 17th January 2012, 13:23

      So, farewell Barrichello (I doubt he is going to HRT). The only driver, I remember so far, that have left gracefully F1 was Michael Schumaker, but everbody knows what happened. Anybody knows, in the recent F1 history, any other driver that was in a competitive team and had decided that their time had past and gracefully stepped down?

  6. Bad for Williams. I know these days they need a pay driver (Maldonano), but partnering him with someone half decent Barrichello/Sutil seemed to be the sensible thing to do.

    Having two unproven/poor pay drivers is only going to see them struggle again. Sad for such a famous team.

  7. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th January 2012, 12:25

    I’m overjoyed for Bruno, but saddened at the same time for Rubens. I don’t think Senna will ever be champion (he came into the sport a bit too late), but I’d love to see him in a top car. Bruno’s comeback performance in Spa last year showed that he’s not just a pay driver. He’s also one of the friendliest and most laid back drivers out there, which is ironic considering Senna was probably the exact opposite and very much a “full-on” type of man!

    I’m just so disappointed that Williams are in the position that they have to employ Pastor Maldonado purely for the money he brings if they want to stay in the sport. In a way, I hope Pastor’s funding dries up, but that would probably spell the end for Williams. Now that would be sad. I’m gutted that Rubens is missing out on a seat because of this. If Brazil last year was his last race, it was such an unfitting way for him to bow out of the sport.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th January 2012, 12:32

      Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Petrobras is backing him and becomes a sponsor for Williams.

      • WarfieldF1 said on 17th January 2012, 13:39

        OGX back him so unlikely to be Petobras, also Embratel.(Williams confirmed when AT&T left that they were in negotiations with another telecomms company)

    • Girts (@girts) said on 17th January 2012, 12:51

      @damonsmedley I actually don’t believe that Senna is a better driver than Maldonado. They both have had a couple of remarkable performances (Maldonado in Monaco, Senna in Belgium) but I don’t think either has proved that he deserves to be in F1 on merit, at least not yet.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 17th January 2012, 16:44

      I feel the same @damonsmedley . Senna in a Williams has its positive sides, mostly because it reminds of a succesful team and driver, when Bruno and the current Williams aren’t. It also reminds us of a dramtic moment for motorsport as Imola ’94, but this partnership can hopefully bring more positive things to be remembered.
      But I don’t think Senna’s that good a driver to deserve the seat more than Barrichello or Sutil. Maldonado even less so, but I’m not criticising the decision to keep him because I did so at the time it was announced.
      I don’t like Sutil much but this year he’s been awesome at times and a lot more consistent than before. He hasn’t set the world on fire in hid years in the sport, but I rate him higher than Senna.
      Barrichello also has shown amazing consistency in his 19 years in the sport and I knew his time was almost up but I hoped he could race for a 20th consecutive championship; I felt it would have repaid him of the second-driver treatment he received many times in his career. Also, after so long a period in F1, a good farewell would have been welcome, like Michael Schumacher at Brazil 2006. Instead, he himself didn’t know he was going to be sacked or he hoped he wouldn’t be.

  8. Eggry (@eggry) said on 17th January 2012, 12:27

    Farewell, Rubens.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 12:30

    Well, that’s disappointing. Senna has been reported as beinging fourteen million Euros to the team. So I guess that means history will remember January 17th, 2012 as the beginning of the end for Williams – the day they took and over-rated and under-achieving pay driver over the far more capable (though less economically endowed) Adrian Sutil or Jaime Alguersuari.

    Williams is no longer recongiseable as the team that won nine Constructors’ Championship, seven drivers’ titles and has one hundred and thirteen race victories to their name. There was a time when they ran some of the all-time greats of the sport – Mansell, Prost, Rosberg, and of course, Ayrton Senna to name a few. And while they were in decline for a few years, the end of 2011 saw some light at the end of the tunnel; they were finally getting rid of their “aggressive design philosophy” that had brought them nothing by consistent inconsistency for years, and were starting to turn things around. now they’ve gone and thrown that all away with Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado as their drivers: the single most uninspiring and unexciting combination on the grid.

    As a long-time fan of the sport – though, I admit, I was never a fan of Williams the team – I have to confess that I’m feeling hurt and upset by this. I don’t want to see Williams F1 die a slow and inglorious death, but that is the fate that awaits them. If this is sounding like a eulogy, that’s because it is. The body is still moving, but the eyes are dead inside.

    • vickyy (@vickyy) said on 17th January 2012, 12:34

      Did we have the telepathy!

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th January 2012, 12:35

      @Prisoner-Monkeys They need money to get going again. I don’t like their line-up either, but who’s to say this much needed money won’t give them the boost required to put them back where they belong?

      • vickyy (@vickyy) said on 17th January 2012, 12:37

        @damonsmedley : As I posted earlier,how other teams with similar budget didn’t follow this route?

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th January 2012, 12:40

          What makes you so sure that Bruno Senna is not a good driver? Pastor Maldonado has shown us nothing but hotheadedness and immaturity, but Bruno looks to have a good head on his shoulders and has, on occasions, done something Pastor cannot; impress.

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th January 2012, 12:45

            That was meant to be in reply to @Prisoner-Monkeys, sorry.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 12:49

            What makes you so sure that Bruno Senna is not a good driver?

            His consistent failure to out-qualify, out-race or generally out-perform a lowly-rated team-mate. I might be a Vitaly Petrov fan, but I am under no illusions as to Petrov’s standing in the paddock. The fact that Senna fared so poorly against him (out-qualified five times in eight races, out-raced five times in the six races they both finished, etc.) says to me that Bruno Senna does not have what it takes to make it in Formula 1. If he was Bruno Jones, he would have been shown the door months ago and nobody would think twice about it.

          • vickyy (@vickyy) said on 17th January 2012, 12:49

            If you are referring to his qualy in Spa, sorry, that was just “i” for impress?
            Although I am not debating Senna vs Pastor,but I found it strange that you choose to ignore Pastor’s performance in Monaco, Spa and making into Q3 thrice where Rubens could only manage 11th at best.
            My main point revolves around the fact that similar budgeted team preferring merits instead of all money!

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th January 2012, 12:52

            @Prisoner-Monkeys He came in with no-where near as much experience with the car as Petrov, so I’d actually say he did a fantastic job! And you can’t judge him based on his 2010 season, either, as the car let him down in every other race.

          • Enigma (@enigma) said on 17th January 2012, 12:54

            It was Petrov’s 2nd year with the team, he had pre-season testing and a lot of experience from the car. When Senna got the seat, he only had a practice session and a test-day in the car under his belt.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 12:55

            If you are referring to his qualy in Spa, sorry, that was just “i” for impress?

            Senna’s qualifying performance at Spa was impressive. His entry into La Source was not. Grand Prix weekends do not end on Saturday afternoon, so whatever goodwill Senna built up with seventh place was gone when he hit Alguersuari. And this was not an isolated incident, either – he had another top-ten qualifying performance in Brazil, only to hit Schumacher. He simply wilts under pressure. To make matters worse, Petrov scored points in both Belgium and Brazil after starting behind Senna.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 12:58

            And you can’t judge him based on his 2010 season, either, as the car let him down in every other race.

            Every other driver gets judged based on his performances in every race he starts. Senna deserves the same treatment.

            I’m sorry, he might be a Senna, and that might make us all a little nostalgic, but I stand by my original assessment of him: on pace alone, he does not deserve to be in Formula 1. Not when there are drivers like Adrian Sutil and Jaime Alguersuari out there with no seats.

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th January 2012, 13:03

            I’m sorry PM, but I completely disagree. I don’t think Bruno is the next Vettel, but I think he deserves more credit than you’re giving him. He had two incidents last year and that’s enough for you to say he “simply wilts under pressure”?

            His crash at La Source was more than likely down to not knowing how the car would handle being filled with fuel, and his collision with Michael in Brazil was just a racing incident. The fact he got a penalty for it showed the FIA are consistent… Consistent in penalising the silliest of incidents.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 13:15

            He had two incidents last year and that’s enough for you to say he “simply wilts under pressure”?

            Because both incidents came when he was running inside the top ten, and both incidents were deemed to be his fault by the stewards.

            But it’s not jsut two separate incidents – it’s a general lack of performance compared to his team-mate, who was not highly rated to begin with.

            And in case you’re wondering, this is not one of the thigns you can change my mind about. I believe Senna does not belong in Formula 1 just as much as I believe Formula 1 has no business making political statements in Bahrain.

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th January 2012, 13:21

            Because both incidents came when he was running inside the top ten, and both incidents were deemed to be his fault by the stewards.

            That doesn’t mean he wilts under pressure. Especially not the first one.

            But it’s not jsut two separate incidents – it’s a general lack of performance compared to his team-mate, who was not highly rated to begin with.

            As I said, it’s a little bit difficult to compare him to Vitaly when he had no-where near as much time in the car when he took over from Heidfeld. The fact that he was able to outqualify and outrace Petrov even once demonstrates to me that he certainly deserves a place in F1.

            I don’t expect you to change your mind, but I’m yet to see any decent reasons for you believing he doesn’t deserve a seat.

          • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 17th January 2012, 13:32

            Daniel Ricciardo performed admirably under similar – if not tougher – circumstances to Bruno. Why couldn’t Senna perform like that – after all, he’d been with the team all year, driven the car once in pre season testing, and had a season with HRT the year before – a season where he didn’t exactly dominate the lowly Karun Chandhok.

            Does Senna deserve a seat? Not at Williams – troubled as they may be, there are plenty of better drivers out there who would love that seat. I fully expect Maldonado to outperform Senna.

          • John H (@john-h) said on 17th January 2012, 13:55

            I agree with PM. Senna is not good enough to be in F1.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th January 2012, 14:04

            @damonsmedly, when you write

            but Bruno looks to have a good head on his shoulders and has, on occasions, done something Pastor cannot; impress.

            I think you forget that Maldonado did have some pretty impressive moments in Monaco as well. Just the car. And his temperament. But starting in the top 10 in Spa and then crashing into Jaime Alg. is not that impressive to me.

            And to add to what @Prisoner-monkeys wrote, just look at the start of Bruno in F1 – he was never really convincingly beating even Karun Chandhok in the HRT.

          • Slr (@slr) said on 17th January 2012, 14:14

            I have to agree with PM, Senna has had his chance and he failed to impress. I don’t think he should be at Williams when there are better drivers who have no seat.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 17th January 2012, 14:15

            Senna didn’t impress me at all, and that was compared to Petrov whom I don’t exactly rate highly.

            Senna, I have to say it, wouldn’t be in F1 if he had a different surname.

            I’d love him to do really well, but Senna is well below the standard that F1 deserves.

            Not only that, but to be there above Rubens, Sutil and Heidfeld. Oh and Jaime and Buemi…

            This really is quite ridiculous.

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 18th January 2012, 4:42

            @Prisoner-Monkeys @Mike @John-H @slr @BasCB @Dan-Thorn I just don’t understand why Bruno is getting so much hate when we’ve got de la Rosa, Trulli and Maldonado taking up seats that could be occupied by Rubens, Adrian, and Sébastien. Bruno is unproven. Therefore, you can’t definitively say he doesn’t deserve a seat. No-one really “deserves” a seat, but everyone with at least some potential deserves a shot before they can be criticised. Give him a chance, please. He may just make you eat your words yet. Even if he doesn’t, it’s still harsh to be judging him so early.

            As for Rubens, you could say he’s had enough time in F1, but that’s rubbish, and it’s completely ignoring the fact he’s still delivering. Someone like Trulli, however, is not doing anything at all and being dominated by his not-so-highly-rated team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. Rubens still has a lot to give and isn’t showing signs of slowing down, which is why it doesn’t seem right to me that Trulli and de la Rosa get seats instead of him.

            And it’s not Williams’ fault that Sutil, Alguersuari, Buemi, and Heidfeld don’t have seats, so I don’t see why the team is copping so much hate. I don’t like Pastor, but I also understand why the team chose him. I’m sure they’d rather have Rubens, but at this stage, he’s probably not an option.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th January 2012, 7:40

            I just don’t understand why Bruno is getting so much hate when we’ve got de la Rosa, Trulli and Maldonado taking up seats that could be occupied by Rubens, Adrian, and Sébastien.

            De la Rosa is good for Hispania. They are in serious need of someone who can develop the car, and de la Rosa has been McLaren’s test driver for years. He is exactly what the team needs right now – and that’s something neither Sutil nor Buemi can offer.

            Trulli is entirely unnecessary at Caterham (though I get the impression he has convinced himself that he is). Popular rumour places Vitaly Petrov there, and the fifteen million Euros he is believed to have on offer will be of particular benefit to the team trying to make the final step and compete for points. They already have a talented and experienced driver in Kovalainen, so between him and Petrov, there is nothing Sutil, Buemi or Barrichello could offer.

            Maldonado is not so much good for Williams as he is a necessary evil. He brings an estimated forty million Euros to the team through PDVSA, money that can be put to good use developing the car. Senna brings a fraction of that, and none of the experience that Barrichello or Sutil could offer. Senna is simply the wrong choice for the team. He is not what they need right now.

          • Slr (@slr) said on 18th January 2012, 14:34

            @damonsmedley I don’t hate Senna, but I think hasn’t done enough of competant job to deserve the seat above others. You may not believe that Senna has had a proper oppotunity, but I disagree. A full year with Hispania and just under half a year with Renault is enough. What I gathered with Senna in 2010 was that he may not be gentle with the car as itconstantly broke down, whilst Chandhok and Yamamoto were finishing races. At Renault, he had support of the team which Heidfeld didn’t have, and he was still generally slower that Petrov. His error in Belgium was amateurish, and in Brazil he should have backed off.

            Like PM, I think de la Rosa is a good driver and Hispania could do with his experience. He proved himself in the few races he had with McLaren, and did a competant job at Sauber.

            Maldonado in my opinion did enough in 2011 to earn himself a second year with Williams. He matched up to Barrichello fairly well, when many thought Barrichello would destroy him.

            I agree that Trulli is past it, but guys like Sutil, Buemi, Heidfeld, Alguersuari and Wickens deserve seats in front Senna.

        • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 17th January 2012, 16:23

          How do you know what their real budget is, and how much each of the drivers is paid/paying? Unless you are on the board of all the teams all you have is speculation and guesswork which are meaningless.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 12:37

        They need money to get going again.

        They’re already getting it from Maldonado.

        who’s to say this much needed money won’t give them the boost required to put them back where they belong?

        Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado. Neither is capable of driving at the level Williams has displayed at the past. While their money might make the FW34 better than the FW33, we’re unlikely to know it.

        • Bigbadderboom said on 17th January 2012, 17:28

          I though the whol point of the IPO was to raise the capital required to continue in a positive vein rather than having to make further concessions to pay drivers and the sponsors they bring. Brunno Senna has not had the chances others have but given Williams current lack of form and restructuring it would have made more sense to retain Rubens for another season at least, it seems a big gamble give Rubens experience.

        • Pavel (@pchun) said on 17th January 2012, 21:09

          They’re already getting it from Maldonado.

          Suppose, they are hedging against possible problems with Maldonado if Chavez loses his 2012 reelection bid. And what alternatives do they have? Sutil was probably eliminated because of Lux incident trial. Alguersuari? For starters, may be he isn’t all that interested trying to land reserve driver job in some top team like Buemi did (and I would say it is a better opportunity for him to enhance his market standing than Williams drive). Anyway I think in their strategy Williams has already reserved the place of a “young prospect” for Bottas. Raikkonen? We don’t really know who dumped whom in their courtship. May be it was Kimi’s initiative. Rubens? Judging by 2011 car his engineering input is a little bit overestimated and he doesn’t have Michael’s marketing appeal to keep racing after 40. Vitaly? I would like to see it happen but on pure racing terms it won’t make much difference for Williams. On the marketing side they are busy looking for new title sponsor. And if this possible sponsor isn’t interested in Russian economy Vitaly is irrelevant while Senna’s name is always an asset.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 23:12

            Vitaly? I would like to see it happen but on pure racing terms it won’t make much difference for Williams.

            Multiple sources in England, Germany and Brazil are all reporting that Petrov will join Caterham, with an announcement expected soon.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th January 2012, 7:47

            they are hedging against possible problems with Maldonado if Chavez loses his 2012 reelection bid

            The elections don’t take place until October. PDVSA will have paid Williams well in advance before there. There is no danger of suddenly losing the money in 2012.

        • Dave Blanc said on 17th January 2012, 22:53

          While their money might make the FW34 better than the FW33, we’re unlikely to know it.

          Great point PM. The difference a good driver can make versus a below par driver is huge in F1 terms. These guys will always be running half a second off the pace – a time difference that will cost the team millions of pounds to make up through car development.

      • Fernando Cruz said on 18th January 2012, 0:16

        So, it seems to me that you really think Bruno would be slower if he raced as Bruno Lalli.

        Let’ s think a little bit: how can someone be blamed for something that any racing driver would do in his place? Anyway if he raced as Bruno Lalli everyone would know he was Ayrton nephew the same way. What do you suggest he should do? Not to go racing? Why? Just because he is not son of Ayrton? That doesn’ t make any sense.

        Damon Hill was son of Graham Hill and that is one of the reasons he was not as much criticised by some people as Bruno. But Hill also had the advantage of a famous name and look at what he did in junior categories – he took 10 years to get to F1 and never won a single race in F3000. Bruno took just 4 full seasons in junior categories, won 3 races in GP2 and was second in the championship. He was never champion, but the same can be said about many good drivers who made it to F1, in past and present.

        One example: how many titles did Niki Lauda win before getting to F1 in 1971/1972? None. But in F1 he was a triple world champion.

        Really, I don’ t think Bruno is special (he spent too much time out of racing after Ayrton’s death) but certainly deserves respect for what he did in a short period of time. Also luck has not been on his side, he could have started with Honda in 2009 but the japanese quit and he was left without a drive. Without that he could be a much better driver by now, much more developed.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th January 2012, 7:48

          So, it seems to me that you really think Bruno would be slower if he raced as Bruno Lalli.

          No, I think Bruno Senna will be slow, whatever name he uses.

          One example: how many titles did Niki Lauda win before getting to F1 in 1971/1972? None. But in F1 he was a triple world champion.

          How is that proof of anything?

          • Fernando Cruz said on 18th January 2012, 15:23

            Compare Damon Hill and Bruno Senna in junior categories and you’ll see Bruno showed much more talent. He deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Hill deserved to be in Williams in 1993. The difference was that in Hill days testing was almost unlimited while Bruno got to F1 precisely when testing during the season was cancelled and even before a season it became very limited.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 12:51

      The worst part of all this, I should add, is that Williams had the chance to reverse their fortunes when they were talking to Kimi Raikkonen. I might not like Kimi, and I might not understand the appeal of him, but I do know that he is the kind of driver Frank Williams would have head-hunted were he racing twenty years ago. He’s one of four top-class drivers (the others being Hakkinen, Schumacher and Alonso) who never raced for Williams. The team had their chance to get him and to start making progress, but they let him slip through their fingers.

      • John H (@john-h) said on 17th January 2012, 13:56

        Adam Parr has ruined Williams. Well, what do you expect from an investment banker.

        • Adam Parr has ruined Williams. Well, what do you expect from an investment banker.

          Sorry @JohnH but I don’t think one man can ever ruin a team unless it’s the boss of everything of everything just as one man is never responsible for a team’s success plus Williams have been in decline for longer than Parr was appointed to take over the day to day running. It’s a shame I’m saying this as I wanted to agree with you after your nice Massa/Ferrari comment the other day! :P

          • John H (@john-h) said on 18th January 2012, 0:16

            @Steph Yes you’re right of course, it’s not down to one man think I was in a bad mood earlier! In some ways the big turning point was the fallout with BMW in 2006, just before Parr arrived took over.

            Some if the decisions since then have been questionable. They’ve made some big changes of late hiring Coughlan and letting Sam Michael so let’s see what happens. The two pay drivers move doesn’t sound encouraging to me however.

            Oh and I’m really pleased you liked my Massa comment, an honour from an obsesse like yourself! I do like him sometimes ;)

        • mphipps (@mphipps) said on 17th January 2012, 22:57

          He’s not an investment banker. He may have started as an equity analyst, but spent most of his career with the miner Rio Tinto & also qualified and practised as a lawyer.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 18th January 2012, 9:38

        I’m curious to this comment @prisoner-monkeys.

        • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 18th January 2012, 9:47

          Sorry; my itchy finger hit the button before I could finish the comment. I’m curious about it @prisoner-monkeys . Why do you say that Kimi would have been a better step?

          I’m not disagreeing with you; nor am I saying you’re wrong. I’m just curious as to your reasoning.

          A known car developer; and good team builder – someone like the 1996-spec Michael Schumacher – would probably be a much better fit; though I’m not entirely sure Kimi could have fit that role.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th January 2012, 9:50

            Why do you say that Kimi would have been a better step?

            Because I think he has some ability to drive a car beyond its limits. Perhaps not as much as Alonso or Hamilton, but he would certainly be able to do things in the Williams that Senna and Maldonado cannot.

      • Bronson said on 19th January 2012, 13:14

        Ok PM, so Kimi is a better driver than, say, Vettel?

    • Carl Craven said on 17th January 2012, 18:42

      While you’re probably not wrong about Senna being the choice at williams, it would be worth considering that with out all the money they have at their disposal at RBR, Vettel probably wouldn’t just have won two titles in a row and in fact would probably still be struggling to show his talents in a midfield car.

      works all ways.

    • sumedh said on 18th January 2012, 6:16

      Was it really “Williams” winning nine constructors and seven drivers titles?
      I think it was Newey who was winning it. Williams have been in decline ever since he left them. There have been a flash in the pan in 2003 – that’s about it.

  10. Felipe Bomeny (@portugoose) said on 17th January 2012, 12:31

    Now, for the HRT seat… I suspect it’s between Jérôme d’Ambrosio and Giedo van der Garde.

    • I’ve heard rumours that Kevin Ceccon, the Auto GP Champion of last year has already signed the contract. He looks a good prospect, but maybe a little bit young…

      • Mike (@mike) said on 18th January 2012, 3:57

        The great thing about HRT is you never quite know what will happen.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 18th January 2012, 4:48

          …or if they’ll even be there in Melbourne!

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th January 2012, 9:56

          @mike

          The great thing about HRT is they never quite know what will happen.

          There, I fixed it for you.

          @ben-n

          I’ve heard rumours that Kevin Ceccon, the Auto GP Champion of last year has already signed the contract.

          I posted something about that the other day. Until about a week ago – which is roughly the same time as these reports started emerging – Kevin Ceccon was (supposedly) going to race for Coloni in GP2. But then Coloni dropped him without a word and drafted in Onidi and Coletti. No explanation was ever given, but I’m having a hard time tracking down the original source that said Ceccon was in because of Wikipedia’s SOPA blackout. We need @Fixy for this – he might be able to tell us if Ceccon was ever contracted to race for Coloni, or if it was simply misreported.

  11. Kirill (@) said on 17th January 2012, 12:34

    Williams+Renault+Senna – yeah, sounds great, but…
    I hope it’ll be a good choice for this great team, they know what they’re doin’
    but it’s strange, two drivers with little experience and no tests during the whole season. 2011 was an awful year for Williams, but can Pastor and Bruno give useful feedback to improve the car next season?

  12. Girts (@girts) said on 17th January 2012, 12:36

    So Williams has preferred money to talent and experience. The team used to employ one pay driver in the past, it looks like they’ll have two now. Let’s wait and see where this decision takes them, maybe cash is now vital for the survival / development of the team. But I just don’t see how Maldonado and Senna make a stronger driver line-up than Sutil and Barrichello.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th January 2012, 12:40

      I just don’t see how Maldonado and Senna make a stronger driver line-up than Sutil and Barrichello.

      That’s simple. They don’t.

      • Francuis (@francuis) said on 18th January 2012, 7:57

        They may not be at this stage, but they have both the potential to improve. Sutil is a solid drive and after 5 year you know what you going to get from him. But I doubt if he is in F1, for the next 5 years that he will show one anything different than he did already. Barrichello is going to give you the same as he did this year, a solid drive. Maybe even a bit worst as he is getting older. And speaking bad things of your own team to the media don’t do yourself any favors. Bruno can only improve, and if not that will also be the end of him. If he can’t surpass Sutil performance in this year (I believe he will), that will be the end of him too. Maldonado is a bit hot headed. He can improve his race craft and I believe he will. It is too early in my opinion to say he doesn’t belong in F1. The end of this season will tell. In my opinion only Alguersuari would have been a beter option than Bruno.

      • Sean Newman said on 18th January 2012, 9:09

        It’s a typical pragmatic Williams decision. They’d sooner spend the money on developing the car. Let’s face it, if they produce a good car (something they haven’t done recently) then that’s their best bet shot at moving up the grid. The difference between Bruno and Rubens could more than be made up by having some decent aerodynamics, rather than some mediocre ones.

  13. Mordred said on 17th January 2012, 12:37

    Money rulzzz!!! Two pay-drivers in legendary Williams team. That’s not what I expected…

  14. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 17th January 2012, 12:40

    For me, this comes as a surprise, as I had expected either Rubens or Adrian to get the seat.

    Good luck to both Williams and Senna, though, in what will be a make-or-break year for Senna, and possibly Williams too.

    @prisoner-monkeys, I don’t share your pessimism as this being the end of Williams. At this time of year, anything is possible, and if the car is good, then Maldonado will deliver, and perhaps Senna can as well. And although it’s true that last year I wasn’t among the greatest believers of Bruno’s potential, I do agree with Frank that in his previous F1 outings, it was hard to assess his potential. This year, he will get a proper shot, and let’s see what he makes of it.

  15. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 17th January 2012, 12:43

    Looks like that’s it for Rubens Barrichello in F1. He had a good career, and I’ll never forget watching him win in Germany in 2000. Alas, all careers must end, and even though he wasn’t the best driver I am going to miss Rubens on the grid come March.

    • I know that was his first win and arguably a classic but my favourite Rubens win was Silverstone 03 (strange how he attracted lunatics running onto the track). He was just magnificent that day to the extent that he actually made me forget Schumi was racing.

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