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

  1. StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 17th January 2012, 17:04

    I don’t think you can just look at finishing results when rating Bruno as there were a few races where he got a much lower place than his actual performance during the race would have got him.

    At Spa a lot was made of his qualifying position & turn 1 accident, However after he pitted for a new nose his race pace was actually fairly strong when compared to Petrov.

    When he scored points at Monza its often overlooked that he was last at the end of lap 1 having driven through the gravel avoiding the turn 1 crash & had to pit for a new nose as a precaution due to going through the gravel.

    He was faster than Petrov all weekend at Singapore a track which is one of the most physically demanding circuits on the calender.

    He matched Petrov’s pace all weekend at Suzuka & outqualified Petrov despite having done no qualifying simulation during practice due to his crash.

    From memory he was ahead of Petrov in India when his KERS failed & Got screwed by the team’s strategy at Abu-Dhabi when they pitted him at the end of lap 1 expecting a safety car, Then as he was coming back through the field he had another KERS failure.

    He was also well ahead of Petrov at Brazil untill the incident with Schumacher which I still see as a racing incident undeserving of a penalty, Especially since the penalty was for the initial collision & not for the one which gave Schumi the puncture. Bruno’s pace was then very strong & he had made progress through the field before getting the 2nd penalty for ignoring blue flags.

    Also its worth remembering that he was only 3 tenths of Button’s pace when he had the test with Honda at the end of 2008 & Ross Brawn spoke very highly of Bruno & did say that had Honda not pulled out & had they had more preperation before the start of the 2009 season he would have gone with Bruno rather than retained Barrichello.

    From the Barcelona Test on 20/11/2008:
    5 Jenson Button Honda 1m21.387 94
    8 Bruno Senna Honda 1m21.676 107

    From an earlier test at Barcelona in similar conditions:
    7 Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:21.950 sec 122

    Remember Button had a ton more experience in the Honda RA108 & that car round that track while it was Bruno’s 1st ever run in an F1 car.

    but Karun Chandhok was able to finish in fourteenth place in two races, securing 11th place in the WCC.

    True, Its also true that Bruno was ahead of Karun in both of those races untill his car failed.

    Its also true that Bruno was the only HRT driver in 2010 to qualify ahead of one of the other 2 new teams, Twice.

    • Gubstar said on 18th January 2012, 17:11

      I completely agree with this post. All the Senna bashers on here, and we dont need to name all the usual suspects, will realise that they have underestimated him come the end of the season now that he has a proper shot.

  2. Kamui Fan (@kamui-fan) said on 17th January 2012, 17:18

    Senna’s appointment at Williams comes as no surprise.

    Whilst he is talented, I think the team should have recruited someone with more than 26 gp starts.

    Personally I think Petrov would have been a better alternative

  3. dizzy said on 17th January 2012, 17:41

    So Williams will employ a GP2 Champion (Maldonardo), a GP2 Championship Runner Up (Senna) and a GP3 Champion next season (Valtteri Bottas).

    Hardly a poor Line-Up!

    • F1_Dave said on 17th January 2012, 20:07

      Excellent point.

      For all the hate thrown at Bruno & Pastor its always ignored that Pastor won the GP2 championship, Finished 3rd in points in the World Series by Renault 3.5 series.

      If Pastor was so poor then why did he do this well in lower categories?
      Same with Bruno he won many races & contended for championships, hardly the performance a poor driver would displey.

      • jonchuckle (@jonchuckle) said on 17th January 2012, 20:40

        Maldonado also thrashed Hulkenberg when it came to getting the better of Rubens. I don’t understand why he’s so criticised. (As a driver, anyway – his attitude leaves something to be desired.)

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th January 2012, 22:05


          Maldonado also thrashed Hulkenberg when it came to getting the better of Rubens.

          That’s a slightly obscure (and unquantified) reference given that you only have to go back to 2009 to find them both driving the same car for the same team (ART in GP2).

          Result: Hulkenberg beat Maldonado 100 points to 36 and five wins to two. And it was Hulkenberg’s first season in GP2, Maldonado’s third. That’s a lot more like a thrashing.

          I’m not saying Maldonado is a rock ape and Hulkenberg is Jim Clark reincarnate, but if it was my team Hulkenberg would get the nod every time.

  4. George (@george) said on 17th January 2012, 17:57

    I wonder if Rubens will take a testing role for this year, or he just packs it up. It’s hard to imagine him racing anywhere else, F1 was everything to him.

  5. Shomir (@shomir) said on 17th January 2012, 18:22

    Dissapointed. Senna hasn’t proven much in the Renault last year(wasn’t good when he got it, but still didn’t impress in terms of beating Petrov), yet he gets a drive while Sutil, Alguersuari and to an extent Petrov are left seatless.

    • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 18th January 2012, 9:10

      Lesson for Sutil would be Don’t stab people in the neck.

      Alguersari was too slow in qualifying and only started to pick up his race pace when he knew his drive was under threat. Not good enough.

      Petrov, disappointed in him tbh. I thought he showed flashes of speed last year and would be able to iron his weaknesses out but it hasn’t materialised.

  6. UKFan (@) said on 17th January 2012, 18:53

    I wouldnt like to be in barrichello shoes. betrayed by a fellow countryman, I guess F1 is running short of true good guys, this new generation of eevn more spoiled kids is going to give us more excitment for sure.

    • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 18th January 2012, 10:14

      Betrayed? What nonesense!!

      Rubens knows as well as anyone that its every man for himself in F1. There are only 24 cars on the grid and you have to do whatever it takes to get your bum in one. Its nothing personal, its just the nature of the beast so I doubt Rubens it home saying to his wife “Not fair, Bruno got more money than me”

  7. TED BELL said on 17th January 2012, 19:02


    I am dumbfounded to understand the logic of this decision. It must be all about money, which they must be desperate for and the attention from the name Senna.

    First off Bruno has only had a few individual moments where he somewhat played the role of a Grand Prix driver and with little success. The best thing he has done in racing is to take advantage of his uncles name, other than that HE HAS DONE NOTHING.

    Shame on you Frank Williams for ever getting into this situation with your team. Bad F1 teams eventually dissappear and this dance with history and the hope of better times so far has been a disaster. Look at what your team has become. Now you are taking advantage of a dead Grand Prix Drivers name by hiring this unproven talent. Thinking that a name alone will return glory to your organization is pretty low in my standards.

    You would have better to keep Rubens and rebuild the team based on his experience. Set the stage for a better tommorrow and then maybe pick a promising young driver.

    Instead you went for a name and money and that price is high because many of us have lost respect for your team. See you in the bottom three.

  8. UKFan (@) said on 17th January 2012, 19:07

    Breaking News: Bruno Senna hired a new team to drive for next season. The Brazilian Bruno Senna Lalli becomes the 7th driver to hire a team for the next season joining Kimi Raikkonen, Pastor Maldonado, Romain Grosjean, Charles Pic, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Pedro De La Rosa. Hiring Teams is common fashion on junior categories as such GP2 F3 championship but recently became a trend on F1 as F1 teams struggle for resources. In spite of the circunstances Williams believes that Senna and the new acquired Renault engines could revive Williams to where they were in 1994.

  9. F1_Dave said on 17th January 2012, 20:03

    A fair few people here have spoken of how they should have stuck with Rubens because they need his experience.

    Well Rubens has been there for 2 years & his experience hasn’t exactly helped them a great deal & I don’t think a 3rd would have been any different.

    I think Bruno is a good choice, He’s not the terrible driver his critics label him as, If he was he woudn’t have won races in the lower categories.

    Im expecting his critics to be eating there words come the end of the season, Although im sure they will find other reasons to throw hate at him.

  10. Let’s wait and see guys … it’s his last chance to show if he’s got something or not … I think that he’s quick on Qualifying but MUST improve in RACE conditions a LOT !! .. Do not forget that he finished 2008 GP2 Season better than Kobayashi, Buemi, Petrov, Grosjean, Maldonado, D’Ambrosio, Chandhok …

    Who of you ever think of Kobayashi getting into F1 when he was at GP2? .. He only entered because of connections with TOYOTA .. and then showed his real talent …

  11. I’m reserving judgement on this one, I have to admit. I like Senna, but I don’t think I’ve really seen enough of him as a racer to fully form an opinion on his ability.

    That said, I think it’s a bit much to suddenly be declaring the death of the Williams team just because they’ve signed him. Slight overreaction, maybe? Just a bit?

  12. infy (@infy) said on 17th January 2012, 21:24

    Its amazing how such an average driver is still in F1, when good drivers are not.

  13. Flavio said on 17th January 2012, 22:51

    There is no surprise that Bruno is bringing money, in F1 money always plays a special role. There are just a few drivers that don’t bring sponsors or some amount of money to their teams. Even former champion Kimi Raikonenn, had to bring sponsors in his return otherwise his salary couldn’t be paid. In the past Alonso started a season at Minardi because of his sponsor (Telefonica), then he showed his talent and became a top-notch driver.

  14. schooner (@schooner) said on 17th January 2012, 23:03

    So, the other shoe has finally dropped. I feel slightly bad for Rubens, but he’s had a heck of a run, and I hope he doesn’t resurface at HRT. That would be a sad way for him to wind up a great career in F1.

  15. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 18th January 2012, 0:05

    It’s a shame to see Rubens go. :S

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