Renault technical director James Allison has praised Bruno Senna for a 'remarkable' debut for the team at Spa and said he is excited about seeing the Brazilian in action again this weekend at Monza.
In his first appearance since the 2010 season finale, Senna qualified in a fine seventh place on the grid before finishing the race in 13th after a mistake at the first corner saw him lose places.
However, Allison insisted that mistake was all part of the learning curve for the former Hispania man after weekend that he said was 'remarkable' from the 27-year-old.
“I don't think anyone needs insider information from the team to know that Bruno had a remarkable weekend,” he said. “The current regulations place a very high hurdle in the path of any driver coming in mid-season, as there is no opportunity to get up-to-speed in the relatively unpressured environment of the test track. On top of that Bruno had to make his debut for us at Spa, a circuit which definitely separates the men from the boys. Finally, he had to manage qualifying in exceptionally difficult track conditions.
“To face all these challenges and to place the car P7 on the grid is a fantastic achievement on any scale. I know Bruno was kicking himself for the incident at the first corner in the race, but my view is that it was a completely understandable error; it was the first time that he had ever felt the R31 on full fuel and he was surrounded by competitors already eleven races into their season. His subsequent race was run at a very respectable pace and I'm looking forward to seeing him in the car again.”
Allison added that both Senna and team-mate Vitaly Petrov could have finished inside the top six without problems on race day, with the team confident that progress made in Belgium will be carried into the Monza race weekend.
“We looked much more on the pace in Spa than in the previous four Grands Prix,” he said. “Neither driver had an unimpeded race, but the underlying pace of the car was capable of earning P5-P6 given a freer run to the flag. We will know for sure whether we have turned the corner once we have a couple more GPs under our belt, however I am taking some heart from the fact that our competitiveness looked fair throughout the weekend whether on wet, dry or intermediate rubber.
“We have been plagued with extremely poor wet performance in recent races, and to have seemingly put this behind us gives me faith that the upgrades brought to Spa will continue to deliver at other circuits. Like everyone, we will have a low downforce package [for this weekend] We will also bring upgraded bodywork, which hopefully will help us build on the gains we made at Spa.”