It would be 'a wicked shame' if Bruno Senna's assumed failure to secure the second seat at the soon-to-be re-named Honda outfit in Formula 1 this year means that he has missed his chance in the top flight – that is the view of his former GP2 Series team boss Paul Jackson, as rumours intensify that the Brazilian is now DTM-bound instead.
Senna was understood to be as good as a shoe-in for the berth alongside Jenson Button at the embattled Brackley-based concern – whose new name and ownership is expected to be unveiled imminently [see separate story – click here
] – until it was revealed that major Brazilian oil company Petrobras was not willing to help bankroll his graduation.
That news has seemingly vaulted compatriot and 2008 incumbent Rubens Barrichello into pole position to retain his drive at the squad, with Senna – last year's GP2 Series Vice-Champion – admitting that he is now 'kind of resigned to leaving this project behind' and 'a little upset' at having been led on for so long, costing him any chance of a decent opportunity elsewhere in either F1 or GP2 [see separate story – click here
That, argues Jackson, is a crying shame – and the iSport International team principal fears that Senna's window of opportunity, so rare for young drivers in F1 these days, may now have passed.
“The way their time frames have worked, getting closer and closer to the first race without any opportunity to test, they tend to err more towards the safe route of picking a driver who's got F1 experience, rather than taking a little bit of a chance with someone like Bruno,” the Englishman explained in an interview with the Eastern Daily Press
“He is really, really smart. He will get on top of all the problems, probably better than some of the experienced guys, because he will have an open mind. A lot of the experienced guys will be looking back at their experiences over previous years, which are not quite so relevant, so I think it would be not such a big risk to take him.
“We really do believe he's a talent, but for some reason a lot of people don't seem to take him quite so seriously. They think he's there because of his name, because he's got access to sponsors and whatever. For sure, that helps him, but it doesn't make you drive the car quickly. He is a real talent and it'll be a wicked shame if that doesn't get seen in F1.
“If you don't get that F1 drive, it's a very difficult judgement as to where you go to try and keep your career alive and keep in front of people. It's a hard one. I've heard rumours in recent days he could end up in DTM, the German series. Okay, you're keeping him racing, you're going to keep him fit and focussed and employed, but it's a wasted talent I think. The danger is if you're out of it for a year, people tend to forget and I'd just hate to see that happen.”
iSport has already firmed up its GP2 line-up for 2009 – comprising new pairing Giedo van der Garde and Diego Nunes – and Jackson has spoken enthusiastically of both, but he did hint that the door to a Senna return may not be entirely closed.