In 1994 three-time world champion Ayrton Senna tragically passed away at the wheel of a Williams-Renault F1 car. For the 2012 season, Williams will rejoin with Renault and has chosen Senna’s nephew, Bruno, to drive its second car.
Despite not beginning car racing until the age of 20, Bruno Senna will partner Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado at the Williams-Renault team. The Brazilian has previously driven for cellar-dwellers Hispania Racing in 2012 before driving the latter part of the 2011 season for Lotus-Renault Grand Prix, a reincarnation of another team his famous uncle had driven for. After the death of Ayrton, Bruno was forbidden from racing, only returning at the age of 20.
Of Bruno, Ayrton once famously said, “If you think I’m quick, wait until you see my nephew, Bruno.” With a full-season to prove his uncle right, there has never been a better chance for Bruno despite the unpredictable performance of the struggling Williams team in 2012. When Ayrton drove for Williams it was reigning World Champion, but 2011 was its worst season ever, scoring just five points.
“I’m really happy to be a part of a team with such a fantastic heritage,” said Bruno. “I am very proud that Williams has chosen me to race in what will be an important year for them. Everyone is extremely motivated for 2012 and it is great to be part of that motivation.”
Ironically, the confirmation that Senna has been signed by Williams means that the last Brazilian on the grid that could say he raced in F1 against Ayrton Senna is now without a drive. Rubens Barrichello, who also had a severe crash at the San Marino Grand Prix on the weekend of Senna’s death will make way for Bruno.
Of racing for the same team as his late uncle, Bruno said, “It will be very interesting to drive for a team that my uncle drove for. Quite a few of the people still here actually worked with Ayrton and I’m happy that they are now giving me the chance to prove myself here. Hopefully we can bring back some good memories and create some great new ones too.”
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.