Bruno Senna has said he expects the 2012 F1 season to a tightly-fought affair as he prepares for his debut with Williams this weekend in Australia.
Senna goes into the new season aiming to impress for his new team in what will be his second full-season in the sport, having competed for HRT in 2010 before running in the latter stages of 2011 with Renault.
The Brazilian has enjoyed a solid pre-season at the wheel of the team's new FW34 and he said he was excited about the prospect of the new season getting underway.
“I am really looking forward to going to Australia,” he said. “About a month after the last race of the season you are itching to get back racing, so four months later I really can't wait to get started. Getting into the car on Friday will be very exciting, and I hope we can be competitive from the very beginning.
“I know the Albert Park circuit, having driven there for HRT in 2010. I've also had success, winning three of the four Formula Three races supporting the Australian Grand Prix in 2006, so I have good memories of the place. Pre-season testing was promising, but you never know exactly what everyone is doing. It is certainly very close, so it is going to be very tight this year.”
Williams go into the new season having completed more mileage than any other team with its new car, and chief operations engineer Mark Gillan said he too was targeting a strong start to the season.
“We have had a productive pre-season test programme, with the Williams-Renault FW34-RS27 completing 5,330kms, which is the most mileage of any of the new 2012 cars,” he said. “During the three tests Pastor [Maldonado], Bruno and Valtteri [Bottas] drove exceptionally well and the two new drivers have integrated seamlessly into the team ahead of the new season, with weekly visits to the factory and simulator. The whole team has worked very hard over the winter to eradicate areas where we were weaker in 2011, in addition to integrating the new Renault Sport F1 engine, and are now looking forward to starting the season.
“The performance of the RSF1 engine has been as hoped; strong, flexible and with negligible performance degradation throughout its life. The weather in Melbourne can be variable, and going by the long range forecasts, this year appears to be no exception. As this is a street circuit, one tends to see a large track improvement through the weekend so we need to carefully monitor the evolution of the medium and soft Pirelli tyres. The track layout has above average corner speeds, and the race start fuel load is higher than most circuits, which leads to a relatively hard time on the braking system.”