Despite enduring something of a tough start top his 2012 F1 campaign with Williams, Bruno Senna has been picked as the latest recipient of the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy.
Established in 1992, the award is presented in memory of Italian racer Bandini by his hometown of Brisighella, near Imola. It is traditionally awarded to a driver who has shown great promise at the beginning of their career, befitting the memory of Bandini, who was the leading Italian racing driver at the time of his tragic death at the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix.
Senna is the 19th recipient of the prestigious award, and joins past winners including former Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya, current team mentor Alex Wurz, and past world champions Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.
It is customary for the winner to make the twelve-kilometre drive from Faenza to Brisighella to reach the ceremony, driving on public streets with fans gathering to congratulate. Senna will receive his award at a ceremony in the Italian town on Sunday 15 July, between the British and German grands prix.
"It's a great honour to receive the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy, particularly when you consider the excellent racing drivers that have been awarded it in the past," the Brazilian commented, "I would like to thank the people of Brisighella for their kind support and generosity, as well as all of those who have helped me in my career so far. I'm very much looking forward to the prize-giving ceremony next month, which promises to be a great event."
Senna's rise to F1 is well-documented, with the Brazilian having been prevented from competing for many years following his uncle's death at Imola in 1994. When he decided to take the plunge, he skipped the traditional lowest rung of the ladder in karting and, after contesting just a handful of Formula Vauxhall Junior events, jumped straight into F3. Eventually making a name for himself, Senna as able to move up to GP2 and, after several years, finally got his F1 break with HRT in 2010. Although he was not retained at the end of the season, the Brazilian signed on with Lotus Renault as a test and reserve driver, earning a spot in the race line-up when Nick Heidfeld was fired during the summer break. Again, Senna found it hard to hold on to the seat, but was picked up by Williams to partner Pastor Maldonado for 2012.