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.

2012 F1 season


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226 comments on Bruno Senna secures Williams drive for 2012

  1. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 17th January 2012, 14:05

    Some way I am sad not to see Rubens anymore in F1, as he will be missed for sometime. On the other hand the question I want to ask is that how much of the decision of taking Senna was the cash he was carrying with him? & if so as Williams now have good sponsors from both the drivers how much development can they do now?

  2. From a financial standpoint for a company like Williams it is a good move to get backing from two drivers from countries not affected by the crisys. In the end of the day you need money to develop a car and the grow your company. If you just look at the 92 season Ayrton would have seem not world champion material by some commentators.
    Best of luck for Williams, and Bruno (Senna) Lalli.

  3. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 17th January 2012, 14:16

    We could see a subtle return of yellow on a Williams again, with Embratel? It’d sit better in my stomach than the maroon they had in 2011…I guess that’ll always remind me of how bad the year was!

  4. LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 17th January 2012, 14:29

    Okay, I must be the biggest idiot around here BUT WHAT THE HELL IS THIS LOVE-FEST FOR SENNA???? I am 100 percent serious here, could somebody explain this to me!!!… I am not trying to put him down here, I JUST CAN`T wrap my head around it……. i would really like to know!!!!…. i tried to understand it but I failed miserably, so please, somebody, enlighten me!…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th January 2012, 14:36

      I don’t agree that there is a “love-fest”, I see a mixture of responses here.

      When we did a poll a few days ago on who should get the last two places, Senna came third, behind Sutil and Alguersuari and only just in front of Barrichello:

      Who should get the last two places in F1 for 2012?

      • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 17th January 2012, 15:52

        i don´t mean here as only on this article but on the site, general…..i don´t know i just find it strange somehow…… people keep saying that he has sooo much talent and that he hasn´t had a real chance to prove himself yet…etc.. for all the potential people say he has, he hasn´t shown much (or any) of it……

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th January 2012, 16:14

          @lexblair Again I don’t agree and I think the voting on that article bears it out.

          I don’t think these sweeping generalisations you keep making do your case any good. “People keep saying that he has sooo much talent…for all the potential people say he has” – says who? If you disagree with them, tell them why. It’s not as if it’s hard to do on here, just look for the reply button under someone’s comment.

          As it is, you’re just complaining that people don’t agree with you, which seems rather futile.

          • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 17th January 2012, 16:40

            As it is, you’re just complaining that people don’t agree with you, which seems rather futile.

            okay, with all due respect….but seriously? don´t you find this a little bit ironic, now?? I corrected your assumption about my comment … I WAS NOT disrespectful towards ANYONE…especially you… nor did I bash Senna just for the fun of it…..NOR was I complaining….I made a general observation which is indeed true(that most people here are quite found of Senna)…I am really sorry if you felt like it was directed as a critique towards your site, IT WAS NOT… why would it be?… people are allowed to think what they want… I HAVEN`T stripped anybody off this right …. quite the contrary I´ve tried to understand their opinion(or, better the arguing behind it)….i am sorry responded to your comment,and tried to share my view on the prospect…. *clue… exactly this kind of reaction is why I don´t reply to everybody whom I disagree with*

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th January 2012, 17:06

            @lexblair

            I WAS NOT disrespectful

            I never said you were.

            I made a general observation which is indeed true(that most people here are quite found of Senna)

            No it isn’t and the poll I referred to bears that out.

            And here’s another example: We’ve got just over 4,000 active members at the moment and of those 155 (as I write this) support Senna.

            To put that into perspective, Button is over three times more popular.

          • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 17th January 2012, 17:23

            okay….you are still not talking about the same thing as me… i mean ppl having a genereal positive disposition towards Senna as opposed to being ill-disposed…. this does not have to necessary equal that they are supporting them…. There are numerous other drivers I think positively of but they are not one of my fave drivers, therefore I am not “supporting” them on my profile….but you know what…never mind..

    • Girts (@girts) said on 17th January 2012, 15:14

      @LexBlair Bruno is a likeable chap and a lot of fans are tired of Barrichellos and Trullis, they want to see new faces in F1. OK, Bruno isn’t totally new but many people believe he hasn’t shown what he’s really made of yet. Maybe the prospect of seeing Senna at Williams is tempting, too – even if it’s not THE Senna and Williams are not a winning team anymore.

      • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 17th January 2012, 16:11

        …..many people believe he hasn’t shown what he’s really made of yet….

        yeah but didn´t he had plenty of chances to do so….. i mean what do you guys understand under “showing what he´s mad of”?… winning races and regularly being on the podium?…just because he hasn´t had one of the better cars and therefore couldn´t be out front does not mean that his poor (at best mediocre) showings were less significant/realistical….

        • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 17th January 2012, 16:14

          “he´s mad of” :D LOL ….made of

          • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 17th January 2012, 16:58

            oh and just to make sure—in my previous comment— I am not trying to bring this site down, for that I find it enjoyable, nor am I belittling the administrators work….

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th January 2012, 19:56

            @lexBlair, but you do generalize in saying most people here go all soft over Bruno Senne. From the comments I have seen here so far, there are more people saying how this is really the end for Williams and being a respectable team, or how other drivers would have been a better choice than there are those that say its great or even the ones saying he might supprise the sceptics.

          • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 17th January 2012, 21:36

            oh gosh, i am sorry but i am not gonna start round 2 with you, i am done for today :D scroll up a bit…. BUT just make it clear when I say here then I mean on this site… NOT just only on this article… oh and thanks for @Girts who actually tried to give me an answer…

  5. Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 17th January 2012, 14:29

    I wish Senna every success, I’m glad he got a drive because I would to see him have a good chance at showing us how good he is. As I cannot see Rubinho going to a HRT.

    I would just like to say thankyou Rubens for entertaining us over so many years. Your passion for racing is unrivalled, and you raced in some of the best races i have ever seen; Hockenheim 2000 and Silverstone 2003. You are and always will be a legend.

  6. Gridlock (@gridlock) said on 17th January 2012, 14:33

    When I saw how much (allegedly) sponsorship Senna had behind him I did wonder whether it was possible Williams would ditch Maldonado in favour of Senna and keep Rubens, looks like not so much.

    Over 37% of F1 GP ever held have Rubens in them – brings to mind a character’s final line from The Matrix; “Not like this….”

  7. themagicofspeed (@) said on 17th January 2012, 14:44

    I agree completely with @Prisoner-Monkeys.

    While Senna was a better bet than a total rookie, it’s still dissapointing to see how low they have swooped by signing a pay driver. The fact he is the nephew of Ayrton is irrelevant; Bruno paid $14m for his race seat. Pastor Maldonado is also a pay driver (Williams receives millions of $s from Venezualen state owned PDVSA to run Maldonado as a driver). With Sutil seemingly out of the picture, no thanks to the slimy Eric Lux, The long and short of it is, Williams are a team in terminal decline, running two drivers who are paying for their seat, with no title sponsor. I agree with @Prisoner-Monkeys , this could well be the beggining of the end. They have been in terminal decline, really since 2006, and are well on their way to becoming the next, Tyrrell, Lotus, Brabbham, BRM…etc – fallen greats who met a skint and anonymous end.

    It’s particularly sad to see Rubens’ career come to an end as a result of Williams going further down the toilet. He could have provided solid feedback, good consistent results, and he can be trusted not to make stupid errors. It would make perfect sense to keep him on board as a senior test/development driver, as he still wants to be involved and could help the team. He without doubt, despite his age (which i refuse to beleive is a problem), is at 40 years of age, still better than the vast majority of the rookies.

    One thing i do think though, is I bet Rubens would rather lose out to Bruno, and give him a chance, than anybody else. He was and still is close to the Senna family so i don’t think he will be too bitter.

    Williams just threw away at least some of their hard earned credibility, by hiring not one, but TWO pay drivers. Next they will say their reserve driver is ‘a rising talent from Super-1 Karts’ or something.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th January 2012, 14:56

      @themagicofspeed

      Bruno paid $14m for his race seat

      Where’s that figure from?

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

        In here

        It was posted by Joe Saward in here

        “I suppose we will have to see if Bruno can do the job,” he said, changing the subject, to save Penelope’s blushes. “There are lots of people who think he’s got what it takes. I’m not so sure. I must admit I find it rather hard to see the name Senna in a Williams again. Bad memories, I suppose. No, it’s not that. It is more to do with the driver choice. I mean, Senna’s is a good lad, but Williams needs a proper proven number one driver. A charger with no question marks. The team really does not need someone who is supposed to be bringing $15 million in sponsorship.

        • themagicofspeed (@) said on 17th January 2012, 15:17

          @celeste – my mistake. I knew i read it somewhere, i stand corrected. Someone else on F1F quoted $14m just cant remember which comments thread it was.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th January 2012, 16:19

          Do we not have a less tenuous source than someone pretending to be someone else posting a rumour?

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

            @keith-Collantine Now you are being picky… you only asked where we find the info ;)

            But your wishes are orders my dear Sir, here:

            Now the team has unveiled Bruno Senna as Maldonado’s team-mate for 2012. Eighteen grand prix starts for HRT and Renault with one top-ten finish probably gives a fair reflection of his abilities. But crucially he brings a substantial amount of sponsor money with him – estimates claim as much as $20 million - and that was enough to see off more talented candidates.

          • Girts (@girts) said on 17th January 2012, 18:56

            @keithcollantine @celeste Joe Saward is a respectable source that I usually trust. That said, I find some of his habits (including “the mole”) annoying, which is why a certain K.C. defeated Joe and got my personal F1 journo of the year award in 2011 ;)

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th January 2012, 7:12

            @Girts, I would say that Saward keeping himself respectable is the reason that this is presented under the comical guise of “the Mole” talking rumours (making it far less reliable by default – its just a joke, right).

          • Girts (@girts) said on 18th January 2012, 7:57

            @BasCB A good point but does “the Mole” really keep Saward respectable? He’s a highly-rated journalist who sometimes publishes rumours and information from behind-the-scenes but mostly he gets it right and the rumours very often turn out to be true. In my opinion, turning these stories into jokes just devaluates the value of his blog.

    • jonchuckle (@jonchuckle) said on 17th January 2012, 15:07

      @themagicofspeed What’s “slimy” about Eric Lux? If someone glassed me – accidental or not – and then cleared off without even apologising, I don’t think I’d feel too warmly towards them either.

      • themagicofspeed (@) said on 17th January 2012, 15:11

        It seems very underhand to time something to destroy a driver’s career – yes he glassed him, but Lux had months to take action, yet he seemingly timed it deliberately to destroy Sutil’s career. It’s rather unsporting in my opinion, and i refuse to beleive it’s just a coincidence.

        Live and let live perhaps? He didnt need to wait until now to take action.

        • celeste (@celeste) said on 17th January 2012, 15:18

          If I remember the case was presented in China, Germany and Switzerland. Maybe the court was investigating, is what you normaly do, you investigate is there is enough evidence to go to court and then there is a trial.

          I don´t think this could have been timed just to screw up Sutil…

          • themagicofspeed (@) said on 17th January 2012, 15:31

            I see your point. Even if they were investigating, the timing seems impeccable. Lux isn’t mortally injured, or dead, so wouldnt it be better all round for Sutil to apologise, and settle the case out of court? Sometimes i think it’s important to just let things go. If they had settled out of court, there would be far less expense and reputation damage for both parties.

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 17th January 2012, 15:41

            @themagicofspeed I agree that sometimes is right to let things go.

            But we weren´t there and a 24 stiches injure is not a little thing. It sounds dangeroues, specially around the neck.

            Maybe Lux is out for revenge, at we all know this is a dish that you enjoy more cold, but Sutil shouldn´t have put himself in te position where his career and future is at danger…

            Sadly I don´t see any team of sponsor wanting to be envolve in this or with him…

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 17th January 2012, 16:47

            I’m sorry, but if somebody assaulted me with a bottle I think I would be perfectly justified in pressing charges.

  8. celeste (@celeste) said on 17th January 2012, 14:50

    Oh well, I don´t think Bruno Senna is good, he is overrated…I would have wanted to see Rubens one last year as an F1 Driver.

    • themagicofspeed (@) said on 17th January 2012, 15:08

      Bruno has potential, but my gut instinct is he isn’t a World Champion in the making. So i suppose you could say he’s slightly overrated. He tends to be made a bigger deal of because of his surname, which comes with an unimaginable amount of added pressure. I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes.

      He doesn’t give you the impression that big things are ahead for him. As an example, when Vettel first came into F1 even in his capacity as BMW test driver, it was clear he had a lot of potential – hence he was promoted. Bruno doesnt give that feeling.

  9. themagicofspeed (@) said on 17th January 2012, 15:03

    @KeithCollantine

    I read further up the comments somewhere, that he was reported to have paid $14m to Williams for 2012. Not sure how accurate that figure is, but either way it seems he has paid for the privellege of racing in 2012.

    If i find the comment again i’ll link to it.

  10. nivek252 (@nivek252) said on 17th January 2012, 15:15

    This is classic case of head over heart. The head goes for the young hungry driver, the future for F1 while the heart would love to have given Rubens the farewell he deserved. I have to say all season I was all for Bruno and felt Rubens leaving was an inevitability. But after seeing him on the flying lap with Peter Windsor last week, i don’t think anyone would question his ability to give what Bruno would over a single lap even at his age, and his hunger for 2012 was overflowing. That coupled with his technical ability and experience, i think it will be a backward step for Williams to let him go, especially now, i’m sad to say

    • themagicofspeed (@) said on 17th January 2012, 15:22

      @nivek252 To be honest, i would disagree. Personally, my head would also go with Rubens, because of the superior technical feedback he can provide to a team undoubtedly lacking in solid technical direction. Nobody is more experienced than Rubens at that sort of thing, if I remember rightly, even Schumacher used to copy aspects of Ruben’s set up from time to time while they were team mates at Ferrari.

  11. Go Bruno said on 17th January 2012, 16:06

    Jeez, you would think He was caught kicking puppies up and down the pit lane, give the guy a break. Lets see how He goes with a secure seat not reserve and time to help put input into the car. As for He doesn`t deserve a seat I think that goes to He`s fellow countryman who currently is a tail gunner charlie at Ferrari.

  12. sozavele (@formula-1) said on 17th January 2012, 16:06

    I really hope this proves the Senna doubters wrong, in his two seasons he had pretty poor cars, although he was outperformed by Petrov, if he was given a complete season with the car he may have nearly reached his standard. I hope by the end of the season I can say I was correct to be glad Senna deserved the seat and not others like Sutil. I think it is a good move by both parties.
    Firstly Senna, I feel it was a good move to go to Williams as they are not at the top of their game so he would be driving a car which is at the same level as his racing ability. This would be good so then he can hopefully maintain a consistent level of performance which would show his true potential and if he deserves a drive for next season or not.
    Secondly Williams, as I previously mentioned, Williams are not at the top of their game. As they have to pay drivers which is a shame, this could be the key for them getting some cash in some they can then hopefully gradually bring them up to a previous standard over the next few years, (proabably quite a few). What else is good for Williams is that Senna may bring a good amount of sponsership money with him which would be good for their bank balance.
    To conclude, if Senna does have another bad season I can say he does not deserve a drive for next year but if he does have a good one (which I hope) this could be the making of him.

  13. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 17th January 2012, 16:07

    Wow, if only Giedo van der Garde now ends up at preferably Caterham, or even HRT, than all line ups have come about just as I hoped!!
    Yes, I’m à Kimi and Bruno fan. And for tha rest I think everything Has been said above… Let’s wait for tha season to unfold. I’m happy!!!

  14. amadeus said on 17th January 2012, 16:15

    Such a shame ! A team with tradition with two second-hand pay drivers.

    • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 18th January 2012, 8:58

      Tradition is merely the illusion of permanence and the muse of the overly romantic.

      The situation Williams faces is very real which is why they have made some difficult decisions to get their team back on track.

      Right now money is what they need not. They’d never attract a top line drivers these days so its nonesense saying things like they should be paying for a top driver. Which top driver would sign? Williams can’t afford to pay one anyway.

      In Bruno and Pastor they may have average drivers but they can score points if the car is capable. Anyway, not so long ago Jenson Button had a reputation as an average driver and look at him now.

      Give them a chance.

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