Senna says Renault was best opportunity available

2011 F1 season

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Bruno Senna, Renault, 2011

Bruno Senna says it is up to the team to decide whether he will get the chance to drive the Renault R31.

In his new role as third driver he will get to drive older cars but he does not yet know whether he will get any test or Friday running time in the new car.

Senna told F1 Fanatic:

I’m the third driver, I’ll be replacing the guys if they’re not fit for duty. I’ll be doing some testing with the old car, some demo runs, some events and some learning as well which is very important for me.

We don’t know yet [about testing and practice], this is something that belongs to the team.

At the end of the day, for me, it’s very important that what I do is beneficial to the team and if they find it’s beneficial for me to be running in the new car at any point then I’ll happily do it.
Bruno Senna

He said the deal to join Renault as a third driver only came together recently:

I’m very excited to be here. We’ve been talking to Renault for a long time, we know Eric from GP2. But it only became more serious a little while ago.

Eric has decided to give me a good opportunity together with the Lotus group. And here I am, it’s been a very short time and a very satisfying opportunity.
Bruno Senna

Despite having already raced in Formula 1 for HRT last year, Senna believes he can continue to develop in his new role:

I can learn a lot. This is a team which has won championships before.

I think the whole family is quite strong and I’m sure I can absorb the technical knowledge. I’ll be part of the car development to understand what development they take and what the drivers are saying.

So I think, even from the outside, I can absorb a lot and be part of the team as much as possible.
Bruno Senna

He’s also excited to be re-creating history by driving for a team sponsored by Lotus using the same black-and-gold colouring his uncle Ayrton drove with in 1985 and 1986:

I think it’s pretty special. For me, the black and gold Lotus also reminds me of Ayrton, it’s a very special memory. I’ve driven that car a few times and it brings back memories for me. Not only that, but it’s also quite beautiful – very good fashionably for us!

But in seriousness it’s emotional for me, it’s very special and I think it’s quite interesting turn of events to be here at this time.

There were other opportunities but from what is out there I think this is definitely the best.
Bruno Senna

See pictures of the Renault R31 launch here:

Image © Julien Leroy /

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Senna says Renault was best opportunity available”

  1. Completely agree with him. I certainly didn’t think he was going to be in F1 this year, let alone with a decent team. And with the speculation about Kubica next year, its very possible a seat will become available

    1. And with the speculation about Kubica next year, it’s very possible a seat will become available.

      And if Petrov underperforms again, it’s very possible a seat will become available.

  2. Good move for Bruno. The team offers some potential only few other teams might offer. And they will be certain to want to keep him on board at least for the promotional value.
    Good Job Genii, Lopez and Boullier know how to get these guys in the picture.

    1. I agree – this is probably a better move for his career than waiting to see if he has a drive hanging on to the back of the field at HRT for the next race, as he did last year. If he really could get some role in development (simulation, or bits of testing on the old car as I have read somewhere) it will only be a positive.

  3. Good for Bruno.

    However this is extremely poor form from Renault. The livery, the Lotus sponsorship, and now putting a Senna in the car, its too much. Leave the past where it belongs, in the past. Create history, create a fresh modern livery, get the best young drivers who deserve the role on merit, not on who their uncle was.

    This is F1, supposedly the forefront of technological innovation. Thank god for teams like McLaren, Red Bull and Sauber that understand that.

    1. poor form? are you kidding?
      The livery is new, paying TRIBUTE to old glories, and not claiming any heritage. Its there to make its own history.

      Come on, its just making things a little more fashionable.

      Stop with all this Renault hate bs.

      1. Not claiming any heritage? That explains the naming fight between the two lotus teams. I agree with CarsVsChildren, do something original and build a heritage of your own instead of trying to create one based on someone elses.

      2. not claiming any heritage.

        That’s exactly what group Lotus IS doing, and has been doing for a long time.


        This is a great move for Bruno, It really is a coup for him, he is now in a proper team. Good on him.

  4. This is great news! Bruno deserves to get a shot in a car that is not going to act like a wheelbarrow!

    Hopefully he will get a couple of friday tests dotted throughout the season. Or maybe Renault will realise that Petrov isnt very good and put Bruno in before the season is out.

    1. Carsvschildren
      31st January 2011, 16:03

      What did he possibly do that showed he deserved another chance in f1?

      Yes the car was a dog, but it was a dog for Klien and Chandhok too and they aren’t doing anything this year.

      1. So then just be content that it is his name that got him the place – maybe cynical, but who knows, in GP2 he was fast, if he gets a car where he can show something by accident of his name, is that worse than a driver getting a chance purely because he is well connected with money?

  5. Well, good for him and I wish him every success.

  6. So Tony F’s lot moot the idea of black and gold, then change their mind. There’s talk of Senna heading to Norfolk, and now there he is at Renault instead…
    Danny doesn’t have an idea of his own does he? If Tony said the pit-crew were all going to wear Chapman style caps you can bet Lotus Renault would be wearing them next week. Nothing against Senna, but this is all a bit pathetic.

  7. I like Bruno Senna.

  8. Well done Senna,only hope he gets a race or 2.
    Renault Lotus and Team Lotus ,What’s going on? There should only be 1 Lotus F1 team.
    Renault Lotus ( old JPS Black & Gold )next year ( Yellow and blue Camel) be original.
    The Senna name is not only for publicity,Bruno has talent,hope Mclaren or Williams take him.

  9. So a black and gold Lotus with Senna driving it… Do you think they’ll pass on re-creating that moment? I think not. We’ll see Senna in Friday practice this year.

    1. I wouldn’t count on it. I doubt either Kubica or Petrov is going to be eager to give up their seat in practice.

      1. In sure Liuzzi and Sutil were dying to offload some of their friday practices last year though right?….

        1. That was a team policy to make a seat available. Force India and Lotus were the only teams in the practice of it last year. If the R31 is anywhere near as competitive as they hope, I doubt they’ll be sacrificing valuable setup time. I hope I’m wrong though, it would be great to see how competitive Bruno is relative to Petrov and Kubica.

  10. Great news. He gets to show what he can do in a good car. I never forget Geoff willis response when he first looked at the hrt.

    Bruno will be well placed for next year, just like hulk.

  11. Senna will be in the grip of racing by testing old cars & doing some events, not a good news for Petrov as Renault have 5 test drivers he needs to perform regularly or may even loss his seat before his contract of two years expires.

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