Renault has confirmed that it intends to run Bruno Senna for the remainder of the F1 season, despite it being revealed that the Brazilian is so far only nominated to compete in the races in Belgium this weekend and then at Monza.
A statement from Renault - issued shortly after Senna had announced that his deal is currently for two races during Thursday's FIA press conference – revealed that the team was keen to put the test and reserve driver in a race seat for the remaining eight races in 2011.
However, such a move is dependent on an agreement being reached with Nick Heidfeld, who signed up to replace the injured Robert Kubica at the start of the year and remains contracted to the team.
“Lotus Renault GP can confirm that Bruno Senna has been nominated to race alongside Vitaly Petrov at this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix and at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks later,” the statement read. “The team's present intention is to give Bruno the opportunity to race for the rest of the season.
“However, some legal issues have not been fully resolved as yet and, as a result, the team will make another announcement on this matter in due course.”
Senna's move into a race seat will see him make his first race outing since the 2010 season finale, when the former F3 and GP2 racer contested his final race for Hispania.
Since then, the nephew of the late Ayrton Senna has taken part in pre-season testing at the wheel of the R31 in Spain and drove in Friday practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix prior to the summer break.
“I am delighted that Lotus Renault GP has offered me the opportunity to become their race driver,” Senna said. “I'm very motivated to get behind the wheel of the R31. I've gained a lot of experience thanks to the time spent with the team this season, and the opportunities I've had of driving in Jerez, Duxford and recently in Budapest have whet my appetite to become a successful driver for Lotus Renault GP. I am both excited and nervous - it feels like Christmas and my toughest exam have both arrived on the same day!
“I am really thrilled and motivated to be getting in the car to race in F1 again, especially with such a big team. Getting back to racing is something I've been craving for a while, and it's not often you get an opportunity like this with a team of this stature. I feel I am fully prepared to rise to the challenge, and I would like to thank the team for believing in me. I will not disappoint.”