Bruno Senna claims that he has received 'great interest' from a number of Formula 1 teams regarding his services for 2009 – and has dropped hints that discussions that could see him join the grand prix grid next year are progressing well.
The Brazilian – born just a matter of months before his uncle, the late, great three-time F1 World Champion Ayrton, made his own top flight debut with Toleman back in 1984 – finished runner-up in the hotly-contested GP2 Series this year to the vastly more experienced Giorgio Pantano, despite having only come into racing late due to Ayrton's death in the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola in 1994.
What's more, his performances in F1's feeder category have brought the 24-year-old to the attention of a number of team bosses in the uppermost echelon, with Honda CEO Nick Fry revealing this week that he has been impressed by Senna [see separate story – click here
], and BMW-Sauber and Williams also said to be keen.
All three of those outfits, however, would likely only be willing to offer a test driving role initially – an option the São Paulista has hinted would not be top of his list – leaving a race seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso, a squad run by Ayrton's former team-mate and close friend Gerhard Berger, a man who has borne a strong influence on Bruno's formative career, as the most probable outcome.
"I had a great season in GP2," he said. "It was a season with a few highs and a few lows but I finished second in the championship and I guess it gave me good possibilities to go to Formula 1 next year. We have been speaking to quite a few teams, and there is great interest from a few of them.
"There are a few opportunities as a race driver [and] a few as a test driver, but these things aren't certain in Formula One. There is a lot of competition and I need to get ahead of the competition right now on the negotiations and see if I can get a race drive.
"Gerhard Berger has given me so much valuable advice. Every time we took a new step he was there supporting me and sometimes they were very bold steps. I think he did it as a test for me. Toro Rosso is one of the possibilities – not the only one – but it can make the whole difference and for sure he (Berger) still gives me great advice and help all the way."
Senna added that his famous name didn't automatically mean he would be given his chance in Formula One, stating that it would be a proud moment if he was given the opportunity to prove himself at the pinnacle of the sport.
"Many people think I have only been given a chance because of the name, but there is no such thing in Formula One," he said. "Only a driver with the ability to be a great race driver is given the chance in F1 so people in Formula One looking at me need to be sure before they give me an opportunity.
"For sure, it will be a very proud moment for me if I am given the chance to prove myself in Formula One."