x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Senna charts the route ahead

The great Formula One name of Senna is likely to reappear on the starting grids of circuits around the world next year.

Hamed Al Harthi, the spokesman for the organisers ADMM, and Bruno Senna, the runner-up of the GP2 series last year, address the media during the announcement of the support races to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamed Al Harthi, the spokesman for the organisers ADMM, and Bruno Senna, the runner-up of the GP2 series last year, address the media during the announcement of the support races to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

ABU DHABI // The great Formula One name of Senna is likely to reappear on the starting grids of circuits around the world next year. Bruno Senna, 25, nephew of the late Ayrton, yesterday expressed confidence that one of four teams he is negotiating with will sign him up for 2010.

Bruno, 25, visited Abu Dhai yesterday and said he wishes he was among the drivers preparing to race in the capital's inaugural Grand Prix on November 1. He disclosed he came close last year to securing a contract to partner world championship leader Jenson Button in the successful Brawn GP car . The then-Honda team, late withdrawals from this F1 campaign, had held prolonged discussions with the talented Brazilian.

"Last year the opportunities we were grasping were quite tough ones," said Bruno about his brush with the elite of motor racing which featured Honda test drives. "This year the scenario is a lot different. There are going to be many changes next season and there are going to be more options so the chances of me securing a drive are a lot more favourable. I am very hopeful." In the meantime, Senna is experiencing what he considers to be the next best thing - guiding GP2 cars around F1 circuits.

Victories at Monaco and Silverstone last season enabled him to finish runner-up in the championship to Italy's Georgio Pantano, who followed in the footsteps of current Grand Prix drivers Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Timo Glock in topping the charts in what amounts to the second tier of motor racing. Senna was in the UAE to publicise yesterday's announcement that a GP2 race will be one of three supporting events to the eagerly-anticipated first Grand Prix around the state-of-the-art Yas Island track in barely two months time.

He cannot wait, having been given a privileged chance to drive around the circuit on Tuesday. "I couldn't go too fast because there were people working there," he said. "It is quite impressive. There are some nice fast corners and some tight technical parts and I like the camber changes and elevations. I am looking forward to racing here. "The GP2 race that I'm involved in is going to be really exciting because it is impossible to predict how it is going to go. Nobody has any data yet on the circuit so anything can happen.

"That makes it extremely more exciting than normal for the drivers taking part. It will be the same for the Formula One guys and I hope to sample that as one of them next year. "I don't see the need for an alternative plan at the moment but if it turns into a nightmare scenario, I suppose I will be able to carry on with what I'm doing now." Bruno was only eight years old when his uncle was tragically lost to the sporting world after crashing during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

"I remember watching him that year and the year before, but I can't recall much more about his career," he said. Bruno was into racing go-karts at the time, but Ayrton's death led to a suspension of that pursuit for more than 10 years until Bruno reappeared as a Formula Three driver and started making steady progress to get to brink of his F1 breakthrough. "What happened to my uncle, doesn't scare me, though. Not at all", he said.

"It is probably more scary for people watching than those driving. I'm plotting out my own career. It would be nice to follow in my uncle's footsteps but mine is a different career." @Email:wjohnson@thenational.ae