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Senna not hired as 'pay driver'

Bruno Senna has been hired on the basis of his future potential as much as the millions he can bring to the team, claims Williams' Mark Gillan.
Despite comments flying around various F1 fan forums in the wake of his confirmation on Tuesday, Williams insists that it has not signed Bruno Senna purely on the basis of the sponsors he can bring to the team.

It is easy to see the Brazilian as something of a 'pay driver', having been hired by financially-strapped Hispania Racing in 2010, and snapped up, apparently on the strength of his backing, to replace Nick Heidfeld at Lotus Renault last season, but Williams insists that it looked at other variables before deciding to sign Senna ahead of both Rubens Barrichello and Adrian Sutil.

While the former GP2 Series racewinner's $10m dowery will come in handy for a team that lost title sponsor AT&T over the winter, senior operations engineer Mark Gillan claims that Senna's race performances from 2011, plus various assessments - including spells in the simulator - carried out in the past month, indicated that he was the best option for the Grove squad.

"We made the final decision based on a number of factors, ranging from the raw pace of a driver, consistency, tyre management, technical feedback, fitness, mental capacity and, most importantly, the impact the new driver would have on the team," Gillan told the media during conference call accompanying Senna's confirmation.

"In all those areas, it was very clear that Bruno, despite not a lot of experience in single-seaters, has shown improvement and real talent. All the drivers under evaluation went through the same process and, immediately, it was very able to build up a rapport with Bruno. He's a very easy person to get on with. Based on everything that was laid out, Bruno was the best way forward."

Senna's deal effectively spells the end of Barrichello's F1 career after 19 seasons, although the Brazilian veteran claimed that 'the future is open' in a Twitter message congratulating his countryman on landing the drive. While he has indicated that he may now take the year out to spend with his family, Barrichello received an invitation from Dario Franchitti to try his hand in the Indycar Series, while his name has also been mentioned in connection with various media opportunities.

Sutil, meanwhile, has more pressing concerns than securing his F1 future, with an impending court case to hear claims that he assaulted Genii Capital's Eric Lux in a Shanghai nightclub after last year's Chinese GP. The German, like Barrichello, is thought likely to shun the final vacancy, at HRT, and is rumoured to have had his budget from the Medion computer brand trimmed for 2011. It has been suggested that Sutil may also have been passed over by Williams as his management remains focused on securing a seat in a more prominent team for 2013, leading to rumours that he may take the third seat at Ferrari set to be vacated by Jules Bianchi if the Frenchman is confirmed as reserve at Sutil's former employer, Force India.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
08.05.2011- Race, Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM04 and Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33
Friday Practice 2, Bruno Senna (BRA), Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT), F110
Saturday Practice, Bruno Senna (BRA), Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT), F110
27.11.2011- Bruno Senna (BRA), Lotus Renault GP R31
26.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Bruno Senna (BRA), Lotus Renault GP R31
Bruno Senna [Pic credit: Williams]
18.09.2014 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
18.09.2014 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
18.09.2014 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
18.09.2014 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
18.09.2014 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
18.09.2014 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
18.09.2014 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
18.09.2014 - Press conference, Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber F1 Team C33, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
18.09.2014 - Press conference, Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber F1 Team C33, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
18.09.2014 - Sir Frank Williams(gbr),Team Principal Williams F1 Team
07.09.2014 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
07.09.2014 - Race, 1st position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05, 2nd position  Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and 3rd position Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36

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no name - Unregistered

January 19, 2012 6:07 PM

I've posed this question before but I still don't get why everyone seems like they hate this guy so much. And then lately everyone is calling him Bruno Lalli. He has a right to bare his families other name. Hello? It is tradition to do that in Brazil. Ayrton could have done Da Silva but he chose Senna. So Bruno is really doing the same thing. What is everyone's beef. Personally I'm thrilled that the Senna name is back on the grid. Here's a good one. What's lulu going to do now. He really can't keep believing that his is Ayrton now because there is a family member in the field. I'm not saying because I think Bruno is going to match Ayrton I"m just saying that Lulu really shouldn't try to pretend anymore.

Si23 - Unregistered

January 19, 2012 4:24 PM

"Despite not a lot of experience in single seaters" lol, how does half a year in FBMW, 2 Years in Brit F3, 2 Years in GP2, an F1 Test with Honda, a season in an LMP1 Prototype, and 2 Years in F1 translate to "not a a lot of experience in single seaters". I would love to have been so hard done by and to have suffered such a lack of practice :) Nit picking aside Hispaina were ( are ) a joke, and he was thrown in at the deep end last year half way through the season. I would be pleased to see Bruno do well and the Wiliams Car now back in Rothmans style paint and with Renault written on the side will bring back memories with the famous Senna Helmet plugged into the cockpit. I shall watch with interest



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