Bruno Senna is refusing to make any bold predictions for his F1 return at the Belgian Grand Prix, admitting that he will be using Lotus Renault team-mate Vitaly Petrov as his only yardstick.
The Brazilian, who has a sole Friday morning practice session to his name in 2011, replaces Nick Heidfeld alongside Petrov at Spa-Francorchamps, and confirmed during Thursday's FIA press conference that he will also be at the wheel for the Italian Grand Prix next month, but insists that he faces a steep learning curve before he can expect to be competitive.
"It is going to be a big challenge to come back into the middle of the season - or a bit later than the middle of the season – but I have been participating in all the meetings with the engineers, so I have been very much up to date with what is going on in the team," he revealed, "The Friday in Hungary was very useful for me to get a feel for the car and get a feel for how the car can go, but, of course, it is going to be a big uphill battle to get up to the level of these guys who have been racing for eleven races now.
"The Friday in Hungary was really, really difficult but, again, I only had one set of tyres. I know I will be having to learn how to deal with the tyres from the first set all the way to the sets in qualifying and, then again, learning how to deal with the tyres for the race as that will be my first experience with the Pirelli tyres on high fuel going to low fuel. All this is experience I don't have so, if I can be anywhere near Petrov, that would be a good reference.
"The fact that it is here, in Spa, is very special. It is my favourite circuit and a circuit that, historically, I have done very well on, so I am really looking forward to it. I hope I can progress fast and hopefully do a good job for these guys because it is the best way to appreciate the opportunity that they are giving me."
Ironically, one of Senna's few outings in an F1 car since parting company with HRT at the end of the 2010 season came with Renault at Spa earlier in the season, when he did a demo run as part of the World Series by Renault meeting in early May.
"Every time you can drive the car, it makes it easier for you to learn," he admitted, having taken Eau Rouge in both directions during the day, "It was for a demonstration, only a few laps, but still great to have a better reference than from my previous references. Hopefully, this time, it will be a more serious run."