Senna falls to 22nd with gearbox change penalty

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

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Bruno Senna will started from 22nd on the grid after receiving a five-place penalty.

Senna had an unauthorised gearbox change following his crash in Q2.

The penalty drops the Williams driver to 22nd on the grid with Kamui Kobayashi taking his place in 17th.

Senna is the second driver to take a gearbox change penalty this weekend. Pedro de la Rosa also received one, but as he qualified last it made no difference to his starting position.

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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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32 comments on “Senna falls to 22nd with gearbox change penalty”

  1. I like Bruno and his exceptional talent. To get through to F1 with so little experience, is very impressive. But I’m afraid that at the end of the day experience is king and Bruno will be sacked.
    This is by the way an example of the gridpenalty being justified, he’s the one who drove 3 times in the wall.

    1. No argument here on anything you said…

      But as the article points out, on the same grid for this race you’ve got De la Rosa, who has the same penalty, but it literally has no effect, as he’d be starting in P24 anyway. I know there’s already been plenty of debate about the 5 place grid drop rule thanks to Keith’s post about it earlier in the week, and I’m still not really sure what to make of it, or what a better alternative might be (though I’m sure there must be one). It’s certainly true that it’s a penalty that’s more “effective”, for lack of a better term, depending on where you’re capable of qualifying.

    2. he’s the one who drove 3 times in the wall.

      Into the same wall. I don’t see how you can call that “exceptional talent”. In fact, driving into the same wall three times implies a lack of talent.

      People get wrapped up in the idea that Bruno Senna is a Senna, but he’s really just a pay driver. He’s there because of his sponsors, but once again he’s proven to be a liability – this is the second time this year that he has made an embarrassing early exit from qualifying while his team-mate qualifies on the front row. Those same people point to the way he has scored points in seven races compared to Pastor Maldonado only scoring points in two races, but Maldonado is four points ahead of him in the championship standings. At this race, it will be another three races before Senna draws level with him, and probably five before he passes Maldonado.

      1. …implies a lack of talent.

        or lack of equivalent(of maldonado’s) sponsorship money?

        Fundamentally, there does *not* seem to be any issue in Bruno’s driving. What he seems to lack is sufficient confidence. He seems to be trying hard to either avoid crashing the car, and when not concerned about crashing seems too concerned about setting a good lap. No wonder in the former case, he can only manage a top15 finish, and in the latter a Top3 crash!

        The guy needs to have a decent mentor, who can help him calm down and gain self-assurance(wrt driving), which is too much to ask in today’s F1 climate. However, when he is no longer gasping for breath like a fish fished out of water, he has shown that he can be fast, albeit inconsistent.

        One win, and we could see another WDC for Senna!

        1. @f1lunatic

          Fundamentally, there does *not* seem to be any issue in Bruno’s driving.

          Just in case you missed it the first time, we’re talking about the guy who has crashed into the same wall three times this weekend.

          However, when he is no longer gasping for breath like a fish fished out of water, he has shown that he can be fast, albeit inconsistent.

          Making it into Q3 once in fourteen races, and having a best finish of sixth in thirteen races (Singapore obviously having not taken place yet) is not fast. Senna has scored point in three and a half times as many races as Pastor Maldonado, and yet is still four points behind him. That’s not fast. That’s not even mediocre.

    3. To get through to F1 with so little experience, is very impressive.

      Why do I keep hearing / reading this? Why?

      3 years in F1 is not “little experience”!!! Get a grip folks! There are drivers out there with just one season / one & a half seasons under their belt and they are doing a FAR better job than Senna. They are faster, more consistent, get more out of the car, don’t crash it twice or three times into the same wall and don’t put their horrific results on bad luck when they occur. Perez, Di Resta, Hulkenberg spring to mind…

      Nothing Senna did in his career so far can be qualified as impressive. Finally seeing Bottas in that car would be…

      1. I do’t think you understood the bit you quoted. He’s saying that Senna did well to get to F1 in the first place having missed fundamental years of racing in lower categories.

        1. @matt90 – I think you’ll find Adrian Campos signed Senna up without asking him to find sponsors in the (vain) hope that sponsors would naturally flock to the team once they learned that a Senna would be driving for them. But then Campos lost control of the team and Colin Kolles was appointed to run it, and the team had to spend and entire year with Senna locked into a seat with no money flowing in. They had to rely on Karun Chandhok, Christian Klein and Sakon Yamamoto to bring what they could to the second seat. I’m sure Kolles tried to get rid of Senna on more than one occasion, but the best he could do was to drop Senna for the British Grand Prix as punishment for sending out a scathing e-mail criticising the team. The original contract between Campos and Senna was simply too watertight to allow it.

          1. PM, I was just trying to correct the guy who misunderstood the original comment.

        2. @matt90 – What? He did 4 full seasons in British F3 and GP2 along with different showings in GP2 Asia. How is that not enough experience? There are world champions on the grid with less experience than he had before entering F1…

          4 years spent in support competitions + 3 years in F1 is more than enough for a young driver to at least show SOME potential, in my book. Something which Senna failed to do.

          1. You forget Bruno lost 10 years after Ayrton’s death. Even so he showed potential in F3 and GP2. He had better results in junior categories than some people who became World Champions. Had he entered in 2009 with Brawn he would have won races and could even fight for the title. His confidence was at his best at the time as he had almost won GP2 title. He deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Damon Hill deserved to race in Williams in 1993 as he had much better results in junior categories! The problem for him was Honda’s withdrawal due to the financial crisis! That led to him having 3 years without a proper development and that is the real cause for his problems. Also he could have entered in 2010 with an established team but he had no sponsors for that at the time.

            Even now he is not yet in equal terms with others, he loses FP1 almost everywhere. Maldonado is in the team since last year with the same engineer (Xavi Pujolar) and that also makes a difference. The Venezuelan is also one of the very best in a single lap. Bruno proved last year that he can also be good in qualifying and that is where he needs to improve this year, as his race craft improved a lot since last year. Don’t forget Frank Williams says Bruno races very well. He knows more than you about that.

          2. Had he entered in 2009 with Brawn he would have won races and could even fight for the title.

            I seriously, seriously doubt that. Implying Senna would have won races and would have challenged for the title in 2009 if he was to race for Brawn GP is insulting to both Button and Barrichello.

            He deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Damon Hill deserved to race in Williams in 1993 as he had much better results in junior categories!

            Are you seriously comparing the quality of International F3000 in the 80s and 90s with the quality of current GP2 Series?

            Even now he is not yet in equal terms with others, he loses FP1 almost everywhere.

            Nor was Sutil last year as he was constantly replaced by Hulkenberg in FP1 and he had results. Nor is Di Resta this year as he’s constantly being replaced by Bianchi and he manages to have results. That’s just a poor excuse.

            Don’t forget Frank Williams says Bruno races very well. He knows more than you about that.

            Frank says what needs to be said and what brings the most capital into the team. He’s walking the line. He also said Bottas has immense potential and that we’ll see him racing in a Williams very soon. Who do you think he’s going to replace? Maldonado? I doubt that.

            And even so, after two of the poorest seasons in Williams’ F1 history (yes, I am including this one) allow me to question FW’s capabilities as a team owner/manager.

            Senna has more than enough experience on and off track, in and out of F1 to deliver at least SOME decent results in a VERY quick car. Something which he constantly fails to do. I for one don’t care much about reasons and excuses beyond this point.

          3. Bruno Senna was almost as quick as Button when he tested with Honda, I have no doubt he would be a match to him with that Brawn GP. They have similar driving styles and Bruno was full of confidence, coming from a season with wins in GP2. Even more so if Honda had not retired, as he would have a lot of testing to prepare him for what would be his rookie season. He was simply very unlucky he could do no more testing due to Honda retirement and that led to him losing the drive for the experienced Barrichello. Bruno won in Monaco, won in Silverstone in the wet and challenged for the title in a categorie with identical cars. He could only do at least as good with the best car. He was more talented than a guy like Damon Hill. The brazilian took only 4 years in junior categories, the englishman took a decade! He showed more talent and sooner. In his first full season in racing Bruno got his first Pole Position, did you know that? I have no doubt that having the conditions Damon Hill had he would do at least as good and probably better. Hill had almost unlimited testing before his first full season and entered with what was by far the best car. That makes all the difference.

            Sutil and Di Resta were both giving their cars to Hulkenberg last year. It was not only one of them as it is the case now with Senna. And Bruno has already delivered some good results with great races in Malaysia, China, Silverstone and Hungaroring. In most of the races he is as quick as Maldonado, sometimes even quicker. His problem has been qualifying but he proved last year he could qualify well, so he has potential to improve. Also remember Maldonado is very fast in a single lap and is in his second year in the team, with the same engineer. That also makes the difference. Do you remember Frentzen in 1997? Frentzen was very talented but when he got to Williams he was completely dominated by J. Villeneuve. And he was in his 4th full season whille Jacques was only in his 2nd but had the advantage of working with the same engineer since 1996 (Jock Clear). Frentzen did not lose FP1 like Bruno this year but he was even more overshadowed by his team mate than Bruno this year. And this year Williams is not a very quick car in many circuits, Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus are better everywhere. Williams was a winning car only in Barcelona.

            Yes, I think Bottas will replace Bruno next year but the finn is seen as the next Mika Hakkinen. That doesn’ t make Bruno a bad driver. I hope he can find a seat in 2013 but even if he can’t that doesn’ t make him a bad driver either. He just lost too much time in his career, otherwise he would be a much better driver by now, as he would be much more developed.

          4. @tony031r
            What did I say that was incorrect? Only 4 seasons prior to F1 does not constitute a lot of experience, as the original post says. You forget that prior to that he went 10 years without any race experience in any discipline, even karting. I was just correcting you because you apparently misunderstood what he was saying and started talking about his current experience in F1, which was irrelevant to the original post.

          5. @matt90 – Nothing. Figured that. Completely overlooked the “to” in that sentence. I stand corrected in that matter. :)

            Regardless of that, I’m gonna have to disagree on a couple of levels (and I’m gonna adress this comment from here on to Fernando Cruz as well):

            1. Four open-wheel racing seasons before F1 IS a lot of experience when the competitions you enter are British F3 and GP2. Sure, maybe not as much as other drivers on the grid have under their belt but still, plenty and more than guys like Raikkonen, Button, Massa, Alonso, Vettel and Webber had – to name just a few. Now, add up the time spent by Bruno as an F1 test driver and two and a half seasons in F1 racing and ask anyone in the paddock if they think that is enough for a driver to prove himself. I can bet you’ll get an unanymous “yes” as an answer. For god’s sake, guys like Webber or Alonso managed to do that from the very first showing in F1 in an utter dog of a Minardi. It took them three or four outings on the track to speak through their performances. Compare Senna to them, instead of Hill. It’s more relevant this way.

            2. To those saying Bruno Senna’s results in his career prior to F1 are good, I suggest looking at what Hulkenberg or Bottas have achieved compared to Senna (I have specifically mentioned the two because of their links with Williams, past and present).

            As for saying he is faster than Maldonado in most of the races, or that he qualified / classified better than Petrov last year – that’s plain nonsense and I am glad to redirect you to the 2012 half-season and 2011 season analysis as well as the lap charts for the past 20 or so GPs for further clarifications.

            Otherwise, I think I’ve repeatedly made my point clear in this Senna matter and with plenty of arguments as well. :) I’m just gonna have to agree to disagree with some of the guys around here that are, beyond my power of understanding, blindly supporting Senna.

            In my humble opinion, Senna remains a below-average driver, who is sort-of fast on some occasions but generally dead-slow, sort-of consistent on some occasions but generally inconsistent, who has been offered 3 chances so far in F1 and has failed to prove himself on every occasion, who blames every counter-performance on bad luck while making no improvements whatsoever does not deserve his seat in F1. Period. And I frankly don’t care at all about his 10 years spent away from motorsport or any other explanations and excuses one might come up with. I don’t even care who replaces him, to be honest. What I do care about is that racing seat that could host a much talented, consistent, faster, experienced driver (you name it) but is being occupied by someone who struggles at the borderline of bad and mediocre instead. He might be a nice, likeable guy but he does not belong in Formula 1.

            Just my two cents.

          6. So, you definitely think Damon Hill did not belong to F1, he was just very lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I compare Bruno with him because it is the most normal, as they both started their careers very late. We should compare what can be compared and in junior categories Bruno did better than Hill. The difference in F1 was that Hill had many thousands of miles of testing and a great car, entering at the right time. Bruno achieved more than him in junior categories but was unlucky not the enter in the right time due to events he could not control. Since then his confidence is not he same as he lost the momentum and his confidence suffered. In 2009 he did only 4 races in Sportcars, so in 2010 he was not as prepared as he would be the year before. Racing with a car like the HRT also did not do him any good, for his image as well as for his confidence. He could not progress much as a driver, whille many other young talents had a proper development in F1 or even GP2. Maldonado was one of them, he could develop much more as a driver in GP2 than Bruno could in F1 with a car that was not reallly like a true F1. As a result he could not find a seat for 2011 and was 6 months out of racing while others were racing and improving. So, in reality, we should only count the half season of 2011 and this season in 2012 as proper oportunities for him to develop as a driver. In 2011 he proved his pace in Spa qualifying and was in Q3 four times but he compreensively lacked consistency in races. Only this year he had his first ever pre-season testing like all the others and he has been good in races. The results are poor only because of qualifying. Had he the speed of 2011 he would have much more points, as he would start much higher for the races. He just needs to join everything and he can still become a much better driver next year and even more the year after next year. He just needs more time than some others because of all the time he lost. Not getting that Brawn drive in 2009 was maybe as bad for his career than the accident in rally was for Kubica’s career.

          7. I don’t see the point of this debate anymore as we clearly have immovable different opinions.

            I can’t compare Hill to Senna because Hill raced in the god damn early 90s and Senna in the late 2000s. You can’t compare two drivers who entered F1 20 years apart from each other, under different rules and regulations and who were racing two completely different mechanical packages. Ok, there are some similarities between their career paths but the contexts are completely different.

            Racing with a car like the HRT also did not do him any good

            That is a moot point. A good driver is a good driver and a season in F1 is a season in F1. Whether that season is spent racing for HRT or Red Bull is completely irrelevant from a driver development / potential-showing perspective. And I already said this on a couple of occasions so far.
            Alonso and Webber started their careers in F1 in exactly the same situation as Senna. Racing for the biggest backmarker of them all. Webber scored points at his first appearence out of luck let’s say. Alonso did not score but he still drove the wheels off that Minardi, completely trashed his team mate at the time and managed to establish himself as a driver with huge potential. Senna did not even beat his (multiple) team mates in that HRT. So it’s a moot point. And since HRT is still the 24th F1 team on the grid I’d very much prefer if people like you would stop acting like they are non-existant.

            Otherwise, it’s all the same discussion regarding Senna. Excuses, excuses and even more excuses spiced up with illogical comparisons and pointless explanations. I, for one, don’t buy it anymore.

            He just needs to join everything and he can still become a much better driver next year and even more the year after next year.

            As for this, I’ve said it before. If ANYONE give Senna a seat in 2013 AND a 4th chance in F1 I’m afraid I’m going to have to seriously question the integrity of the sport.

          8. And since HRT is still the 24th F1 team on the grid

            12th! Jesus, what was I thinking when I wrote that?!

          9. Alonso and Webber had a Minardi in their rookie years. Minardis in 2001 and 2002 were more like a 2010 Toro Rosso than a 2010 HRT. I see your point but you seem to forget how bad that HRT was and the way they started in Bahrein, without even one mile of testing. It was not the same as if he had started with a proper F1 car. Even so he beat his team mates more often than not and only Klien was really a match for him.

            It’s true he has not the level of consistency of a Di Resta or Hulkenberg but that was mainly due to the years he lost without a proper development between 2008 and 2012. For a driver who was 10 years out of racing it would be crucial to develop the talent shown in F3 and GP2 with proper F1 seasons, with pre-season testing and everything. Bruno had none of that until this year and that is why he lost his momentum. I don’t know if he can recover the ground he lost to other young talents but I think you have no reason to worry. If he can’t improve in qualifying this year he simply won’ be in F1 next year. I think it is as simple as that. But F1 is not everything and there are many great drivers in other categories of racing.

            Even Ayrton Senna I’m not sure if he could do better than Bruno had he lost the formative years in karting, 10 years out of racing and 3 years without a proper development.

    4. Really there are only two reasons Bruno is in F1: 1) his surname and 2) corporate sponsorship.

      1. So Damon Hill entered in F1 due to his surname? He had poor results in junior categories, Bruno did much better. And you also forget now talent alone is not enough, drivers have to take sponsors with them, specially after the effects of 2008 financial crisis.

  2. Yep!
    More and more likely to see Bottas in a Williams F1 car next year as the team seems to change at least one driver since 2009, and after an already bad weekend from Senna.

    1. Bottas has really seemed impressing so far, yet it would be sad to see Bruno senna getting the axe! Maybe senna could take whatever little sponsorship he has mustered, to Caterham, where it seems Petrov is going to have to vacate his seat by year end.

      1. I read somewhere Bottas could go to McLaren next year if Hamilton leaves, as the finn is seen in the F1 paddock as the next Mika Hakkinen. That could led to Bruno having an oppportunity to develop more in Williams, without losing FP1 almost everywhere…

  3. “The penalty drops the Williams driver to 22nd on the grid with Kamui Kobayashi taking place in 22nd.” Did Kamui get a penalty as well?

    1. @keithcollantine yep, I think the 22nd slot is going to be very busy this evening ;)

  4. hmm…hope they dont crash :P
    to clarify: KOB is moving up to 17th

    1. Have corrected it, thanks.

  5. Is that why De La Rosa qualified last then, because of his gearbox?

    1. He qualified last anyway

  6. 20 grid positions between Maldonado and Senna! That rather summarises what a great job Maldonado did: Senna better be weary of his seat for next year. He’s got a serious point to prove in the final races of the season…

    1. Maldonado is a great driver in a single lap and Bruno has been failing in that particular this year. But he was quick in qualifying last year, so he has already showed raw pace and can show it again in a near future. Also Bruno made a mistake but it seems he was in a good lap, enough to put him in Q3. It was a shame but he can still do it this year. If not I reckon he will have a hard time to find a seat next year, as qualifying is crucial in F1.

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