He may have missed out on securing the second Brawn GP drive to compatriot Rubens Barrichello, but it seems Bruno Senna's hopes of making his Formula 1 debut in 2009 are not entirely dead and buried just yet – if Bernie Ecclestone's contention is anything to go by.
Reigning GP2 Series runner-up Senna has revealed that the sport's supremo has advised him to 'not too tightly commit' himself outside of F1 lest an opportunity should present itself [see separate story – click here
] – possibly the catalyst for the Brazilian having turned down an offer from Mercedes-Benz to race for its DTM touring car squad this year.
The drivers on the grand prix grid reckoned to be under most pressure to prove themselves and hang onto their seats are Nelsinho Piquet (Renault), Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India), Sébastien Bourdais (Scuderia Toro Rosso), Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) and, in a twist of irony, Barrichello.
Following a distinctly underwhelming rookie campaign in the top flight in 2008, Piquet has continued to struggle and languish some way off the pace of former double world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso in the opening three races of 2009, with a number of errors doing little to help his cause.
At 36, Fisichella is undoubtedly coming towards the end of his long career in the sport, and has been generally shown up by Adrian Sutil so far this year, whilst Bourdais – who was expected to come on in leaps and bounds after an encouraging end to last season – has been routinely outpaced by namesake debutant Sébastien Buemi, with Toro Rosso famously ruthless when it comes to dismissing those they feel not to be pulling their weight. What's more, Senna was closely linked to the Red Bull 'junior' concern over the winter months.
Nakajima, for his part, has failed to keep pace with Williams team-mate Rosberg, not once qualifying inside the top ten whilst the German has never missed the cut – and whilst world championship leader Jenson Button has barely put a foot wrong in 2009, Barrichello has looked scrappy and off-colour on occasion, with just one podium finish to the British star's three.
So here's your chance to have your say. Should Bruno Senna be given his F1 chance this year, and if so in whose place should it be?
To vote, click here