Bruno Senna has attempted to play down speculation linking him to the latest incarnation of the team that made his uncle a household name in F1 during the 1980s.
The Brazilian, who has been mired at the back of the grid in his maiden grand prix season thanks to the shortcomings on newcomer Hispania Racing, was first linked to a move to fellow newcomer Lotus several weeks ago, but is keen to dismiss the rumours in case they affect his chances of landing a seat on the grid in 2011.
"There is nothing to it," he was quoted as saying by ESPN
, "The stories are ridiculous, and it's bad for the job, because I look a fool when I go to speak with other teams."
With Heikki Kovalainen expected to remain a part of Tony Fernandes' Lotus team next season, Senna is being connected to the seat currently occupied by F1 veteran Jarno Trulli, but the Italian's manager has countered the speculation by claiming that the rumour was started by Senna in an effort to boost his stock ahead of a winter of negotiations.
"Those are just rumours bandied about by Senna, who as far as I know has even had trouble respecting the financial obligations he took with Hispania this year," Lucio Cavuto told Italy's Autosprint
Trulli, meanwhile, has played down further speculation linking to him to NASCAR, insisting that adding details of a trip to the United States to the Senna rumours did not necessarily result in the end of his F1 career.
"The truth is that, before coming to Brazil, I went to Miami and met [Juan Pablo] Montoya to exchange watches that bear our names," the Italian explained, "I'm calm about the future, as I've already been involved by [Lotus' chief technical officer Mike] Gascoyne in the 2011 project."
The two drivers ended the opening day of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 24th and 21st on the timesheets respectively.
"I was the first one to drive a race car on the Abu Dhabi track last year and couldn't wait to return this weekend," Senna commented, "It's a new track but already a favourite on the calendar. It will be a challenging race but after some good performances from the team over the last few races, we're confident of finishing the season on a high. This year has been a fantastic learning process for me and I feel over the last few races especially that I've found a good level of consistency with the car. My aim is to build on this going into 2011.
“Due to the rain before the first practice, the track didn't have a lot of grip and we waited for it to improve. It's a shame because this made us lose time to work on the set-up of the car. In the second session, we could do more laps and work on our program for the weekend but we have to keep on working and improving the car.”
Trulli, meanwhile, had a relatively straightforward Friday.
“It was pretty smooth, with no problems in either session," he confirmed, "We did some good work evaluating the tyres and saw pretty high degradation so I think we'll need to keep an eye on that for the race. The balance of the car was good – we still have to improve it but, all in all, it was a positive day.”