Bruno Senna insists that he is still in the race for a seat at the soon-to-be-renamed Renault team in 2012, but acknowledges that there is plenty of competition for what could now be two vacancies at Enstone.
However, despite Vitaly Petrov admitting that his ride may not be as secure as previously thought and Robert Kubica confirming that he will not be fit enough to return for the start of 2012, Senna accepts that he still has to impress the management if he is to remain a part of the line-up. The Brazilian, who this weekend races on home soil in front of thousands of fans who cheered his world champion uncle, faces opposition from not only Petrov and Kubica, but also GP2 champion Romain Grosjean and, if the rumour mill is to be believed, possibly Rubens Barrichello and Timo Glock as well.
"[It remains] to be seen, but I'm working very hard for the seat and, hopefully, we'll know the future as soon as possible," Senna admitted, before telling ESPN
that Kubica's announcement that he was not in the running for a seat to start 2012 made no difference to his own campaign.
"For me, the announcement does not change anything," he confirmed, "I am working to convince the team that I should stay, but the competition is great. I'm not worried about the seat next to me. Grosjean is the third driver, but everyone who is also on the market is an enemy.
"Rubens has a huge amount of experience, [but] we will have to see what the team decides. We have had encouraging conversations with sponsors and with the team. The team is happy with me, but they want more consistency. I have had ups and downs and I need my first whole season since [GP2 in] 2008 to improve more.
"It's been very tough competing with the guys that have tested and have done the whole season. It's not easy - these guys are not joking around here, they are the best drivers in the world and mixing with them is very satisfying. Overall, it's been a good experience, [but] it would have been much better if I'd done the whole thing, for sure. I think I'm pleased with the results - there have been ups and downs, but the performance normally speaks for itself and, hopefully, we will still finish this race on a high note."
The coming weekend will add further pressure on Senna's shoulders, but he insists that he is still excited about running in front of the passionate Brazilian crowd.
"I took last week [off] to rest and to get acclimatised," he reflected, "It was a bit cold in Brazil, so I didn't get to enjoy the sun, but this week has been very busy and I think it's going to be a very busy weekend overall. But it's a home race so you have to get used to it and get on with it.
"I'm very excited. It's my second time racing in Brazil and it's the first time I'm going to be here in a competitive car, so I think it should be an interesting race weekend - lots of pressure but very exciting as well."