F1 » 7 May 2010
Senna admits HRT performance step is 'late'
Bruno Senna has admitted that he is having to look longer term when thinking about a performance gain for HRT.
Bruno Senna has revealed that Hispania Racing's intended package of developments parts will not be completely available for the team's first home race of the season, suggesting that he and team-mate Karun Chandhok may be further off the pace than usual.
Although HRT has enjoyed improved reliability in the last couple of races, with both drivers seeing the chequered flag, Senna and Chandhok have routinely qualified at the back of the grid, and the Brazilian confirmed that he does not expect to see a major visible update for another few races.
"We don't have an aero update on the car, we are still a bit late on that side, [but] we have a few chassis updates," he told journalists on the eve of the Spanish Grand Prix, where teams traditionally introduce the first mid-season upgrade, "We have managed finally to get the car on the rig and get some new dampers, new parts, that will make the car better to drive.
"I think the lap time gains won't be as large as the guys who are getting aero updates but it is good for us that we can make the tyres last a bit longer and it is a bit easier to drive the car. We have to see to quantify the lap time, we will only see tomorrow, but I think we can expect an update maybe for Silverstone and then we can look at a big step forward and we hope we can see that."
Asked what, in the light of his revelation, the team's immediate goals were, Senna conceded that reaching the end of events remained the main target, although there were others that it was working towards.
"[Long-term], it is to gain big chunks of performance, but I think we still have a lot to do in terms of development inside the team, even on the electronic control side, which need to be much more refined," he commented, "The focus is to continue finishing the races, as it has been good for us the last two rounds. We finished with both cars and I think with more experience we can develop better but, in terms of performance, we need to look a bit further into the year."
The return to European circuits also brings Senna back to a venue that has been kind to the Brazilian on his years climbing the ladder to F1, although he recognises that continuing the sort of run he has enjoyed is unlikely this weekend.
"Every time I have been [to the Circuit de Catalunya], I have finished on the podium at least," he confirmed, "I don't think I will be on the podium this time but, if we can finish the race, have a strong race, it is good for us.
"We have to be realistic about our performance targets and try not to get in the way of these quick guys too much. In China, we had a decent performance in the race and, if the weather is playing up, then we can still have a more fun race. It seems like the weather is like it is in England, so we might get lucky."
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