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Senna's seat under threat at Williams

Bruno Senna is looking like the odd man out at Williams, after Pastor Maldonado's race win and Valtteri Bottas' impressive practice performances puts his position under threat.
A dramatic weekend for Williams that saw the highs of claiming their first Grand Prix victory in eight years followed by the drama of the pit lane fire have ended up transforming the outlook for the team.

But it's looking increasingly likely that Bruno Senna won't be a part of those plans in 2013, especially after the weekend's stunning events coming on top of the news of Williams' latest Finnish sponsors coming on board.

Senna's seat was already under threat coming into the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, after failing to make it through Q2 in any of the first four races of 2012. He did deliver the first championship points of the year for the team with sixth place in Malaysia and seventh in China, but struggled and ended up retiring at the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix with handling issues.

Friday practice at Barcelona saw him comprehensively outperformed by the team's test and reserve driver Valtteri Bottas, who was up in fifth place in the timings for Friday's FP1 session in Senna's car; Senna himself was only 18th fastest in the afternoon session, in what amounted to a direct comparison of the two drivers to the detriment of the Brazilian.

Bottas said that he had "really enjoyed" his session and stressed that this was the first time he hadn't been learning a circuit from scratch: "This was the first track of the season that I already know so it was nice for me to be able to focus purely on the driving from the start."

Bottas has already been handed the FP1 outing for 15 of the 20 Grand Prix weekends, limiting Senna's opportunity to familiarise himself with the track and putting him on the back foot for the race itself. But then in the run-up to Barcelona came news of Williams' latest sponsorship signings.

One deal is with Finnish business enterprise Wihuri, a longtime sponsor of Bottas since 2006. The second is with a Finnish welding manufacturer called Kempii - which has sponsored Bottas since 2008.

It's not exactly a master feat of detection to join these dots and conclude that Bottas' signing for 2013 is a done deal, even if it has not yet been formally announced or confirmed by the Grove-based team.

While it's long been known that Williams has been grooming Bottas to take a race seat with them next season - Bottas is even managed by Williams investor Toto Wolff - it was still unclear who would be the odd man out. Senna had been seen as at least a match for Pastor Maldonado, who brought with him a lot of sponsorship money from Venezuela but was widely dismissed as being 'just a pay driver'.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
13.05.2012- Race, Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34 retires from the race
13.05.2012- Race, Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34 leads Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham F1 Team CT01
11.05.2012- Free Practice 2, Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34
13.05.2012- Race, Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34 and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03 crash
Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 with Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38

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Gorbachov - Unregistered

May 14, 2012 1:24 PM

an 6th and an 7th race results in the first 4 races and his sponsors pay half Williams' bills. Yet another crash.net paparazzi news. Not running on Fridays are definetely being counter-productive for him and he voiced Bottas completely messes up with the setup and he has to spend time getting to ground zero and then start to find the proper balance. Bottas is trying to leapfrog some serious steps I say Williams send him to GP2 and let Bruno practice on Fridays.

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