x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Senna signs F1 deal with Campos

Brazilian Bruno Senna, nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton, will make his Formula One race debut with Campos Meta next season.

Bruno Senna, nephew of three-time world champion Ayrton Senna, will drive next year for Formula One newcomer Campos, the team announced today. The 26-year-old is the first driver signed to one of the new F1 teams joining in 2010. "It is a great pleasure to welcome Bruno Senna in the team," the Campos chief executive Enrique Rodriguez de Castro said in a statement. Mr de Castro described Senna as "one of the most promising up-and-coming drivers of his generation." "For Campos Meta 1 it is an extraordinary honour to be returning the name Senna to Formula One."

Senna was close to joining Brawn GP ahead of the 2009 season, but that seat was ultimately filled by Brazilian compatriot Rubens Barrichello. "I'm absolutely delighted to fulfil a lifetime dream," Senna said. "After many weeks of hard work and negotiations, me and my management finally made it." The deal brought the immediate approbation of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. "It's good for everybody - good for Campos, good for him and good for the sport," Mr Ecclestone said. "I hope the car is up to him, that's important."

Mr Ecclestone also hinted at the Spain-based Campos signing Nelson Piquet Jr to partner Senna next season, creating a union of two of the biggest family names in F1 history. "It'd be good wouldn't it, another good name," Mr Ecclestone said. "That's what's being talked about actually." Ayrton Senna won the F1 title in 1988, 1990 and 1991 before being killed in an accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Brazil's Piquet, son of the former world champion of the same name, was fired by Renault this season and his subsequent revelations about deliberately crashing in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix rocked the sport and led to long bans for key Renault staff. Campos had been linked with McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa to add experience and also a Spanish presence for the team. However Campos said its links with South America were also part of the team identity.

"The deal with Senna confirms and reinforces our prime objective of being not only the first Spanish Formula 1 team, but rather the first Iberian-American F1 team," Mr de Castro said. The Senna announcement answered the growing number of doubters questioning the ability of Campos and the other new 2010 teams - Manor, Lotus and USF1 - to make it to the grid next season. "There is no reason to have any doubts," Mr Ecclestone said. "They've entered and presumably they know what they are doing."

* AP