The man who had to let Bruno Senna slip through his grasp for 2009 admits that, while he can understand the Brazilian's desire to make it into Formula One, he fears that there may not be many doors left to open.
iSport International team boss Paul Jackson has accepted missing out on Senna's services for a second year with remarkable equanimity, and has moved swiftly to ensure that his squad is as strong as it can be in the Brazilian's absence, but admits that Senna may be left in the lurch unless a phoenix rises from the ashes of the Honda F1 team.
"It's been an ongoing situation for a while," Jackson told Crash.net Radio
, "Bruno's been waiting to see what the news from Honda was and, in the early days, when he did his test there, everything was looking pretty promising. It looked a very good possibility that he'd be there. However, when the news came through of Honda's withdrawal, it threw everything up in the air.
"We've just been keeping in touch regularly and really waiting for news of what's happening, but the fact that it's dragged on for such a long time was making life difficult for everybody. Unfortunately, we got to a position where we had to put something in place to make sure that we were sorted, and Bruno is still hanging on and waiting for news of [F1]."
Accepting that Senna was more than likely going to form part of Honda's plans before its shock withdrawal in the run-up to Christmas, Jackson insists that the Brazilian was never integral to iSport's plans for 2009.
"In the early days, we always assumed that he would get something in F1," he confirmed, "Consequently, we were testing lots of other drivers over the winter tests, and looking at who was available and who might be able to step in there if Bruno didn't come back. Of course, quite naturally we had a very good relationship with Bruno, and a lot of success, and, if he did want to do GP2 again, we said 'for sure, the door's open, we'd love to have you', but it was just the fact that the thing was getting so drawn out, with no real decisions being made, that it put us all in a difficult situation."
iSport duly inked a deal with fellow Brazilian Diego Nunes at the end of last week, condemning Senna to either find his desired berth in the top flight or settle for something other than a return to the 2007 GP2 champions. With Sebastien Bourdais being confirmed in the second Toro Rosso seat on the same day as Jackson's announcement, however, Senna's options appear to be fading rapidly.
The one thing that may be persuading the Brazilian to hold on to his F1 dream for a while longer is the fact that he has solid sponsorship behind him. His links with Embratel prompted rumours that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim - owner of the telecom brand as part of his Nextel empire - might be poised to resurrect the Honda team and install the Brazilian as one of his drivers but, while that proved to be wide of the mark, Senna is clearly in favour with former Honda CEO Nick Fry and team principal Ross Brawn, who now appear to be the squad's best hope of rising from the ruins.
Jackson, however, appears more sceptical, believing that his former charge may be left out in the cold.
"[Toro Rosso] is obviously one avenue that's closed off to him but, in all honesty, I don't think that that was a very strong possibility for him anyway," he reasoned, "Obviously, the way things have unfolded in the F1 world, his opportunities seem to have been diminishing all the time, so it's put him in a very difficult position, where there isn't an obvious 'win' situation. He's in a very disadvantaged situation really.
"Circumstances have dictated the whole situation really, and you could look at it from Bruno's point of view that to do GP2 again represented something of a risk. Having finished second already, if he didn't win it, it would be deemed some kind of failure. So, from his perspective, there was some risk element to doing GP2 again.
"From iSport's point of view, we have to operate as a business, we do have to make sure that we're there and we're running, and we felt that the time had come where we couldn't really hang things out any more because we'd start to lose all the other options, other drivers were going to go and sign with other teams. It was just really the timing of it, and the circumstances."