Hispania Racing F1 2010 rookie Bruno Senna has expressed his fear that his HRT chassis is carrying some kind of undiagnosed problem – but with only a week's gap between the Spanish and Monaco grands prix, there is precious little time to identify and successfully resolve it, meaning the Brazilian could be in for a trying weekend indeed in the glamorous Principality, around whose tortuous streets his legendary uncle triumphed on no fewer than six occasions.
Senna qualified plum last in Barcelona last weekend – almost four tenths of a second adrift of team-mate Karun Chandhok – and following a bright start to the grand prix around the Circuit de Catalunya that saw him gain a number of positions, the 26-year-old subsequently put a wheel into the Turn Four gravel trap and, for the third time this season, saw his race come to a premature conclusion.
“I made a great start and was able to pass a good number of drivers and make up a few places,” reported the former GP2 Series runner-up. “I was in 17th and it was a good opportunity to show what I am able to do in F1, but then at Turn Four the car just caught me out and unfortunately my race ended there. I was very disappointed not to finish our home race and to have to retire in front of our fans on a track that I like very much.”
“There is something wrong at the back and we have still not found what it is,” he later added, speaking to Globo
. “I only know that it has been eating up the tyres. Perhaps the floor is loose, we don't know, but whatever it is, it's serious. If we don't find what it is, then it is possible I will have to make several pit-stops [in Monaco], because the tyres are not going to last.”
Chandhok, for his part, found himself relegated to the very back of the starting grid in Spain for a gearbox change on his car, but was running well until a misunderstanding as he was being lapped by the Scuderia Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari shortly before half-distance left the Indian needing to pit for a new nosecone and tyres and earned his assailant a drive-through penalty for having caused an avoidable collision. The 26-year-old was forced out altogether three laps later, however, due to accident damage.
“I am very disappointed with the outcome of the race,” Chandhok lamented. “It's a real shame what happened with Jaime. I stayed out of his way, kept the car completely straight and he just turned left into me. I was really pleased with my race until then. ý
“I had a good first lap and was trying to be sensible with the 'Option' tyres to get them to last. My pace relative to the other new cars was good and I was pulling away from [Lucas] Di Grassi quite comfortably. In the end, although we changed the front wing, the damage to the front right suspension was too much and I had to stop. It was a disappointing end to a good day for the team.”
“I am disappointed that we didn't finish our home race,” concluded HRT team principal Dr. Colin Kolles. “It's a real pity, because both drivers had good starts. Bruno had to stop on the opening lap despite a very strong start which moved him up to 17th from 21st on the grid. Karun was similarly strong and had very good pace, but retired mid-race after contact with Alguersuari. At least the performance was much better than in qualifying. Now, we look ahead to next weekend and are determined to have a good result in Monaco.”