F1 2010 rookie Bruno Senna has countered suggestions that his seat at Hispania Racing is under threat, by asserting that with the right car underneath him and the right team behind him, he 'can be world champion'.
There were paddock whispers last week that the Brazilian might find himself replaced at the under-funded Spanish outfit by better-heeled and more experienced reserve driver Sakon Yamamoto, a man who was recruited to help with development of the underperforming, Dallara-designed HRT chassis [see separate story – click here
] – and team principal Dr. Colin Kolles was quick to praise the 'good job' done by both the Japanese ace and former BMW-Sauber test driver Christian Klien in Friday morning practice sessions this year.
Senna, however – who achieved something of a breakthrough in the Turkish Grand Prix, by out-qualifying a rival car for the first time as he out-paced the Virgin entry of countryman Lucas di Grassi on Saturday afternoon in Istanbul – has dismissed such talk, even if he acknowledges that having to consistently do battle at the rear of the field is doing few favours for his reputation.
“There is a fine line between explaining and moaning,” the 26-year-old mused. “It is very difficult but, in the right place, in the right team and with the right car, I can be world champion.”
The nephew of the late, great three-time F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna added that he is eagerly anticipating this weekend's forthcoming Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, a welcome re-addition to the calendar in 2010 and a circuit that will be new both to him and to team-mate Karun Chandhok.
“I am looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix and the great ambiance in town and at the circuit,” Senna enthused. “I only know the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve from television and video games. The track is a mixture of low-speed corners and long straights, on which top speeds are very high and very challenging for the drivers. I hope that this low-downforce nature helps us, and that both cars can pass the finish line at the end of the race.”
“I have never raced in Montreal before and therefore I am really looking forward to getting to know this circuit,” concurred Chandhok. “I have been told by people in the paddock that the atmosphere is supposed to be unique. The track itself is pretty tricky, with a lot of bumps and kerbs which are typical of a street circuit. Because of the long straights and many braking actions, you need a car that is stable on the brakes and has good traction. Our aim is still to finish the race with both cars.”
Kolles, for his part, has similarly sought to brush off the Yamamoto rumours and is hopeful of further progress in Montreal, around a track that is renowned within the sport for being something of a car-breaker.
“The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a mix of long straights and fast and slow corners,” acknowledged the German. “The hard-braking is going to be a big challenge for our drivers, who haven't raced in Montreal before – but we are prepared for our first race in Canada, and we can improve the performance of our car like we already showed in Turkey.