Bruno Senna will take a step into the unknown when he makes his Formula 1 race debut in Bahrain this weekend, as both he and the newly-formed Hispania Racing Team prepare for their first competitive outing together.
Something of a belated debut for the 2008 GP2 Series runner-up, Senna, who was last season linked with a move to eventual F1 champions Brawn GP before it opted for Rubens Barrichello, will instead make his first race appearance this year with the recently renamed HRT, formerly Campos Meta 1.
Originally confirmed as signing for Campos back in October 2009, while the team itself has undergone a change of ownership, leading to the birth of HRT, the Brazilian has been able to retain his place alongside Karun Chandhok.
Even so, it remains a baptism of fire for Senna, who spent much of the 2009 season on the sidelines, while financial wrangling prior to the formation of HRT means the team's first chassis, designed by Dallara, is yet to even turn a wheel.
Despite this, Senna is hopeful the weekend will allow HRT to work through the inevitable teething issues, while his personal target is to simply reach the chequered flag.
“I hope that we can put the car on the track and sort out as many teething issues as possible during our first weekend, the car's track debut. My goal is to do everything I can to bring the car home to the chequered flag and set a good benchmark for the rest of our season. We'll certainly focus on the reliability side of things first and from then on, focus on performance.”
Three years after making his international racing debut at the same circuit, Senna admits the Bahrain International Circuit represents a challenge for a newcomer.
“I've been to Bahrain twice, one time in GP2 in 2007 then in GP2 Asia in 2008. I had a great result in 2007 with Arden International, qualifying fifth and finishing fourth, which was great considering it was my first ever GP2 race.
“Bahrain is difficult because the track is usually very dirty to start with and improves all the time all the way to the end of the race, so the car set-up is very challenging. Also the sand in the air makes it very dry and the track can be quite slippery, which is another challenge when we are also dealing with the high temperatures.”
Senna's debut comes 16 years on from the untimely death of his uncle, Ayrton.