It has been announced that Bruno Senna will step into the seat of the R31 to become Lotus Renault GP’s new Race Driver. Here, he offers his thoughts on what the decision means to him.
What was your reaction when you heard the news?
I was very happy, no doubt about it. I also felt very nervous at the prospect of getting into the car as a race driver again, as it’s not often you get an opportunity with a team of this stature. I’ve had some good opportunities with the team already this season – driving in Jerez in February, doing some aero-testing and also driving during the Friday practice in Budapest. I will put my whole heart into this new opportunity, and I’m looking forward to racing in a good car. I’m confident I’ll be able to provide the team with a good result at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The combination of the yellow helmet and black and gold car will bring back a lot of memories for people…
Yes, people will of course remember the look from Ayrton’s days. It really is going to be quite special for me. Racing at Spa, a black and gold car, the yellow, green and blue helmet – wow, it’s quite a combination. If you put these elements together, it really is quite amazing – it has all come together very nicely indeed.
You’re a self-confessed lover of Spa-Francorchamps, so it must be a great place to start…
Absolutely, Spa is at the very top of my list; it’s my favourite circuit and a great place for me to start a race behind the wheel of the R31. It’s a long track, which offers all sorts of challenges and brings out the best in drivers; it really tests a driver’s skills to the limit so I’m hoping to put in a strong performance there.
What’s your relationship like with the history of the Senna name?
I got used to dealing with it at the very beginning. The Senna name is a reason for me to take great pride; I’m really very proud to be related to Ayrton. It’s a great inspiration for me to have the surname, and thinking about him and his career always provides fond memories for me. The pressure is there, the demand is there, and the comparisons will always be there. But, at the same time, it has always been that way so I’ve learned how to cope with it and it has made me a more complete driver. Having the name has been both an opportunity and a hard learning curve for me, but it’s very important and a great inspiration. Since I set out, it’s always been important for me to be my own man, to make sure that I wasn’t trying to be Ayrton or compare myself to him. I know that if I can be myself, and be good enough, then I can be a successful driver.
You’ve had a great level of support from the fans even as a third driver – will that be taken to a new level now you’re behind the wheel?
I have to thank the fans for giving me such support and for believing in me. It is fantastic of the fans to continue giving me a great level of support, even when I haven’t been racing, and I’m very appreciative of that. Now I have an opportunity to prove them right, and I hope Spa will provide a catalyst to a long and prosperous career with LRGP.