Crash.Net GP2 News
EXCLUSIVE Senna could return - with Campos?
1 January 1901
Despite claims that he turned his back on the opportunity to rejoin iSport International in order 'to hold out for an opportunity in F1 this year', Bruno Senna could yet make a return to the GP2 Series in 2009.
That is the claim of a source within the category, who told Crash.net that, while he understands the Brazilian's desire to crack the top flight after two years in GP2, the feeder series would still present the best shop window should he not be able to achieve his aim.
The same source also suggested that, despite some of the leading teams having seemingly completed their line-ups for the coming campaign, it is not inconceivable that a lesser driver could be jettisoned to make room for Senna, who would surely be a title contender in the right seat.
iSport confirmed that Diego Nunes would partner Giedo van der Garde in 2009, having been told by Senna that he would rather hold out for an F1 shot than commit himself to running on the support programme, but few other outfits have revealed the full extent of their squads, despite having been in negotiation with drivers for much of the winter.
Reigning champion Racing Engineering is among those teams waiting to announce its chosen pairing but, while he insists that Senna is not in his plans with deals all but done, owner Alfonso d'Orleans admits that he can see others not being able to resist the Brazilian should he come calling.
"Maybe there are some teams with a second driver signed who would be willing to 'wait' for Senna," the Spaniard told Crash.net,"and that second driver will be in something of an ejector seat."
To date, only iSport, ART (with Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg) and DAMS (Kamui Kobayashi and Jerome d'Ambrosio) appear to have both their drivers in place, with others, Racing Engineering among them, hoping to confirm in the next week or so. Single seats at other teams have also been filled by the likes of Andi Zuber, Davide Valsecchi, Karun Chandhok, Roldan Rodriguez and Romain Grosjean, but there remain sufficient openings for Senna to have the pick of several opportunities.
The most intriguing of those could be at the Campos operation that won last year's teams' title courtesy of Lucas di Grassi's return to GP2. The Brazilian has been rumoured to be looking to the IndyCar Series after his hopes of supplanting countryman Nelson Piquet Jr at Renault F1 fell flat - although a fourth GP2 campaign is not beyond the realm of possibility - and is not understood to be a candidate at the team now run by Alejandro Agag.
With no word on a definitive line-up from the Spanish outfit as yet, it remains the best option should Senna perform a U-turn, with Vitaly Petrov potentially in the hotseat, allowing the Brazilian to partner Grosjean in what would be the strongest tandem in the field.
Super Nova's David Sears has made no secret of his willingness to hire Senna should the opportunity arise, but it is unlikely that the Brazilian would look too much further down the grid for a season in which he has to be a frontrunner at minimum, effectively ruling out the likes of Arden, Durango, FMSI, Trident, DPR and Tiago Monteiro's new Ocean Racing Technology.
Wherever he winds up, however, iSport boss Paul Jackson insists that there will be no ill will towards the Brazilian, accepting that time constraints for the team and the driver's natural desire to progress simply made renewing the partnership impossible.
"We have a very good relationship with Bruno, and had a lot of success, so, if he did want to do GP2 again, we said 'for sure, the door's always open, we'd love to have you," Jackson told Crash.net, "It was just that the thing was getting so drawn out, with no real decisions being made, that it put us all in a very difficult situation.
"Circumstances have dictated the whole situation really. From Bruno's point of view, to do GP2 again represented something of a risk - having finished second already, if he didn't win it, it would represent some kind of failure. But, with the way things have unfolded in the F1 world, his opportunities have diminished there as well, so it's put him in a very difficult position where there isn't an obvious 'win' situation. But, from iSport's point of view, we do have to operate as a business, make sure that we're there and we're running, and we felt that the time had come where we couldn't hang things out any more because we'd start to lose other options.
"If [he goes to Campos], it happens. It's entirely understandable that, if F1 closed its doors to him and there was still an opportunity in GP2, then that's the right thing for him to do. There'd be no bad feeling over that. He's got to do what's right for him, and iSport's got to do what's right for us.”