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Frank Williams says Senna ‘came of age’ as an F1 driver in Hungary
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Bruno Senna
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Aug 2012   |  2:27 pm GMT  |  127 comments

Bruno Senna’s performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix shows the Brazilian is beginning to finally come of age in F1, reckons his team boss Frank Williams.

While the wildly contrasting fortunes of Pastor Maldonado have dominated Williams’ season, Senna’s quiet efficiency in delivering a steady stream of the minor points finishes has ensured the Grove team remain ahead of Force India in the constructors’ table. Senna’s main weakness up until the Hungaroring had been matching Maldonado’s qualifying performances but in Budapest the former HRT and Renault driver finally hauled his FW34 into Q3 for the first time and then raced strongly to finish seventh ahead of Mark Webber and Felipe Massa.

The Grove team has remained supportive of Senna since the start of the season despite some low-key weekends and, speaking in an interview for the August edition of the JA on F1 podcast, Frank Williams has expressed his admiration for the Brazilian’s performance in Hungary.

Asked if he thought the result would act as a turning point for the 28-year-old, Sir Frank replied: “Yes I think you’re right, it probably was a bit of a coming of age in F1. It was a strong drive, I would say pretty much without mistake at all.

“I was very encouraged, I really was. It sounds condescending but we all sit in the pits and watch these races and we’re almost emotionally with the drivers, urging them on as they’re striving away. You still get that feeling from within and I just felt from Bruno he was really getting on with the job and needed little mental urging from the pits accordingly. He’s very intelligent and I think he’ll work it out for himself quite well.”

Senna’s failure to match Maldonado’s outright pace had prompted suggestions that he could find himself coming under longer-term pressure for his drive from Valtteri Bottas, who regularly takes over the Brazilian’s car in Friday morning practice. Williams admits the 22-year-old Finn has made a sizeable impression at Grove, but isn’t putting a timeframe on any promotion.

“I can’t make any prediction as and when he will get into one of our two cars – three into two don’t go,” he admitted. “But he is very highly regarded within the team. He seems to be a naturally gifted driver who doesn’t have too much to say for himself – so he’s in with a very good chance!

Despite the inconsistencies displayed by both race drivers, Williams nonetheless go into the closing months of the season in a far healthier position than last year – when the once all-conquering outfit claimed just five points all season. The team founder reamins as ambitious as ever, however, and wants far more than seventh place in the standings – something he believes the team are capable of achieving.

“For some teams very well but for us not particularly well at all,” he said when asked how he would assess 2012 to date. “The famous headmaster’s expression ‘must do better next time’ very much applies in this institution.

“They’re a very good bunch of people downstairs [in the factory] and those around them and if we’re struggling today we’ll certainly emerge we believe, if not this season next season. We have a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience, very good equipment, wind tunnels etcetera. No excuses.”

 

You can listen to the whole fascinating interview with Frank Williams, along with exclusive chats with Monisha Kaltenborn, Nicholas Tombazis and a special feature with Felipe Massa, in the latest JA on F1 podcast here or via iTunes.

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127 Comments
  1. Andrew Carter says:

    I tend to agree. Senna’s been quick in the races all year but his qualyfying has been terrible at times and left him with no chance of points. If he can keep things up from Hungary he’ll be overshadowing Maldonado for the rest of the year.

  2. goferet says:

    Well I think it’s too early to tell if Bruno has really turned the corner for one good race (especially on a notorious track like Hungary) isn’t really a good indicator.

    Maybe the Hungary track suited Bruno’s driving style for all we know, he could lose his form at the next race.

    It’s really sad that Bruno isn’t naturally talented but the Williams team should have seen this coming because it’s almost impossible to find two talented people from the same family especially if one of the members is a mega star ~ Ahem Michael & Ralf or Lewis & Nicholas etc.

    Anyway, for me the Williams driver that got me raising my eyebrows is Maldonado especially after his impressive Barcelona win ahead of none other than Fernando Alonso.

    Yes, not only has Maldonado proved he has raw qualifying pace but his aggressive style is pretty cool just needs refining of course.

    Why I think Maldonado has been struggling of late is because he has been hit by too many penalties already & the media + fellow drivers aren’t happy with him.

    As we saw with Lewis last year, this amount of scrutiny and ill feeling can play with a driver’s head ultimately leading to loose of form (in the short term)

    Meanwhile, Frank Williams’ positivity knows no bounds

    1. gudien says:

      I think you’re correct why Maldonado isn’t performing at the top level lately.

      Frank Williams certainly has a way of ‘talking up’ a driver who he decides to dump; Ruebens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher. Bruno will be next.

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      Actually families with multiple talanted members isn’t all that uncommon (the Brabham’s and Hill’s are into their third generation) and why get at Nicholas Hamilton, he’s disbaled but did pretty well for his one and only year of racing in Clio Cups.

      The reason Maldonado is struggling is because he keeps running into everybody else on a regular basis, particularly since he won, and refuses to admit to ever making a mistake, no matter how blatent. His season hasnt so much been a case of up and down as one up and all down.

      1. JoeP says:

        “The reason Maldonado is struggling is because he keeps running into everybody else on a regular basis, particularly since he won, and refuses to admit to ever making a mistake, no matter how blatent. His season hasnt so much been a case of up and down as one up and all down.”

        +1,000,000 (one million) – thanks for calling it like it is. Maldonado drives like a thug and it doesn’t matter how much “natural” ‘talent’ he has – b/c right now the only thing he seems to have a talent for is, like you said, driving into other cars and then never accepting that his “style” might be to blame.

        Apparently Chavez’s oil money stolen from the Venezuelan people deludes Pastor into thinking that his mierda no stinky…

    3. Fernando Cruz says:

      Bruno was out of racing for 10 years, so he could never be near as good as his uncle. But he could have won races had he started with Brawn in 2009. He won in Monaco and Silverstone and was second in GP2 in 2008. Compare that with Damon Hill and you will see Bruno deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Hill deserved to race alongside Prost im 1993. Hill did not win a single race in F3000, the GP2 of his time!

      Futhermore, Bruno has spent the last few years without a proper chance to develop as a driver, due to Honda retirement and all the effects of financial crisis. Lack of testing didn’t help him either. Considering all this I think he has shown real promise and things can only improve now he arrives to the tracks where he has experience with a good/average F1 car.

      1. Chris says:

        Damon was fantastic at developing a car, look how Williams lost there way when he left, Arrows nearly won a race, Jordan challenged for a championship. Damon offered a lot more in an F1 car than Bruno.

      2. Fernando Cruz says:

        Maybe Damon was better at developing a car but talking about driving skills he was not more talented than Bruno. In F1 we can’t really compare because Damon had the best car since his rookie year (1993) to his championship year (1996) and almost unlimited testing. Having the same conditions Bruno could do as good if not better than Damon. Futhermore Bruno is rated as giving a very good technical feedback and for being very intelligent and racing very well. (Frank Williams words, not mine)

    4. hero_was_senna says:

      I think it was unfair to mention Lewis and Nicholas. I don’t know if you know but Nicholas suffers with a disability, is it cerebral palsy?
      He races in the Clip Cup championship but I don’t think either he, Lewis or his father have ever spoken of a racing career.
      Re: Ralf, well words can’t fully express my thoughts about him!!

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        Ralf won F1 races. Anyone that can do that is a world class driver. Not a champion or a legend but very much a brilliant race car driver.

      2. tom in adelaide says:

        He’s done pretty damn well for himself in the world of online racing too, let’s not forget.

    5. RampantHaddock says:

      Almost impossible to find 2 talented people from the same family? Off the top of my head, I can think of:

      Serena & Venus Williams
      Mark & Steve Waugh
      Gary & Phil Neville
      Morne & Albie Morkel
      Bobby & Jack Charlton
      Alistair & Jonathan Brownlee
      Stuart & Chris Broad
      Bob & Mike Bryan

      Who are from the same family- and those are all immediate family. I don’t exactly have an encyclopedic knowledge of all sports, and if we stepped away from sports I could name a lot more. Honestly, where do some of these statements come from? It’s not like Williams signed him up just because his last name was Senna, and they thought they’d take a nostalgia-tinged punt. Whilst it’s fair to say Bruno’s surname has helped him in life, it’s not fair to say he’s only racing because his name is Senna. It takes talent to drive an F1 car, and I wish some people would realise that.

  3. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Good for Senna.

    I don’t understand why if Williams has “a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience, very good equipment, wind tunnels etcetera”, they didn’t hire a top driver like RAIKKONEN. Financially, losing all that bunch of points with Senna with a winning car… I guess Barrichello had had more points at this moment.

    1. Optimaximal says:

      They haven’t ‘lost a bunch of points’ with Senna. He’s been the one consistently bringing them in, whereas Maldonaldo has thrown away at least 5 separate points-scoring finishes. If he hadn’t lucked Barcelona, he’d be nowhere next to Senna.

      1. MISTER says:

        completely agree. It’s just a shame that he didn’t get to grips with the car earlier in the season. I wish from now on he will keep the form and speed he had in Hungary.

      2. Alex Hams says:

        I wouldn’t say it was all luck in Spain.

        On his day he is a good racer, capable of excellent car control.

        He needs to learn to harness the aggression he has, and he showed he was capable of that when he claimed maximum points.

        It’s early days, and out of Pastor and Bruno, the former has the greater potential.

      3. Optimaximal says:

        Spain was luck, as Hamilton would likely have led from pole to flag were it not for his fuelling gaff.

    2. Fernando Cruz says:

      The Wiliams was a winning car only in Spain. At some other places could have fought for a podium at best and almost everywhere was a car only capable to finish in the points, from sixth to tenth.

      Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus and Ferrari are the best, while Mercedes, Sauber and Williams (and sometime Force India) can only match them ocasionally, at least until now. Lotus in particular has a winning car everywhere, two fantastic drivers and did not win a single race yet!

      That said I agree Williams should have much more points – Maldonado lost a lot of points crashing and making mistakes while Senna would have had a lot more points had he qualified better. But there are much more teams that should have more points. Grosjean lost a lot with incidents in races while Kobayashi and Perez also lost some with mistakes.

      Futhermore, I believe Senna will improve a lot in the second half of the year. Now he has a car more adapted to his driving style (just like Button, who suffered identical problems with tyres) and he will qualify and race in traks where he already has experience with a good/average F1 car.

      I even believe Williams can still beat Sauber and Mercedes in the construtors championsip.

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        So we can say there are drivers that adapt to the new car quicker than others…

        So it should be better have a driver who adapt quick, like Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Perez.

        The others would be only 2nd drivers maybe.

        So Senna could be only a second driver, right?

      2. James Clayton says:

        Raikkonen adapt quick?

        For all his achievements I don’t think you can give him that; he’s still complaining about his steering!!

      3. mayberth says:

        why not?? he perform relatively well with that handicapped steering~~ if thats not quick adaption, i dont know what is it!!

      4. Fernando Cruz says:

        Yes, B. Senna can only be a second driver at this stage of his career, as he had too many delays in the last few years. But he can become a champion later, he just needs time to develop. Drivers like Button or Nico Rosberg did not win a single race before their 7th season in F1 and I hope B. Senna won’t have to wait for so long for his first win. But to have an opportunity to develop much more in F1 he has to improve a lot in the second half of the season and I believe he will do just that.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      They were the team that courted Raikkonen initially last season. Lotus signed him late in the day

    4. Scott Walton says:

      It would have been good to see Raikkonen in a Williams. To me the car looks as good as the lotus so far. Although I suspect lotus may pull away in second half of season.

      1. Fernando Cruz says:

        The Lotus is much better (compared to the Williams) in qualifying and that makes all the difference. Even so neither Raikkonen nor Grosjean managed to win a race and they are really good drivers. Even in races the Lotus has been very good everywhere. The Williams was only capable of fighting for a win in Spain, even if Raikkonen was there it would be the same.

  4. Colin B says:

    Does anyone know if Valtteri Bottas has sponsorship backing behind him, and if he does, how much does it compare to Senna and Maldonado?

    Even if Bottas is performing well on Friday practice, maybe the $$ signs will trump any potential driver changes for now.

    I can see Williams giving Senna another year-or-two. Even though he hasn’t stood out compared to other drivers, is there any other driver of recent time that had a big break during their development years (break in racing after A Senna’s death). Maybe Williams are going to give him some more time to see how he develops

    1. Optimaximal says:

      Bottas has backing from Toto Wolff, although I don’t think it’s financial.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        Wolff is part of his management team and takes a 5% cut of his earnings, I dont think he’s put any money into Bottas career for some years.

  5. KGBVD says:

    Quite frankly, despite everything, Maldonado has done more to show that he has a future in F1 than Bruno has. That, plus his RIDICULOUS sponsorship, means he will be around for a YEARS.

    Sorry Bruno, but you’re no Senna. Enjoy Brazilian stock cars with Massa next year (or maybe the year after, if you’re lucky) after your replaced by yet another flying Finn.

    1. Graham says:

      Brunno missed out on around 10 years of driver development from 1994 onwards, when his family understandably forbid him from competitive driving.

      Considering this, his acheivements to date have been incredible!

      I think this is why Frank is willing to play the slightly longer game with him, allowing him more time to develop

      G

      1. quest_8791 says:

        Who cares if he missed 10 years. Unfortunate for him, but when people watch F1 they want to watch the best racers and this guy is not of them. There are atleast 10 drivers who are out of a seat this year who could do a much better job. He did have a good race in Hungary , but in almost every other race he has been quite poor.

        I am amazed that with all the money Williams got to have Maldonado in the ones of the cars, they went after Senna and more money. With a really good driver and the car they have this year, who knows that they could have achieved.

      2. Kingshark says:

        Maldonado was faster than Barrichello in the latter stages of 2011. Two things we know for a fact about Rubens are;

        1.) In 2009 he gave Button a good fight for the championship, taking the battle to the penultimate round in his home country Brazil.

        2.) He convincingly beat Hulkenburg in 2010, many people considered Nico the next upcoming big thing back then, and some still do.

        Also considering that last year he was only a rookie and he’s still improving, by that logic Pastor should have the potential to be a very fast driver, no matter how much of a reckless idiot he may be on occasions.

    2. Fernando Cruz says:

      Bruno was out of racing for 10 years, so he could never be near as good as his uncle. But he could have won races had he started with Brawn in 2009. He won in Monaco and Silverstone and was second in GP2 in 2008. Compare that with Damon Hill and you will see Bruno deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Hill deserved to race alongside Prost im 1993. Hill did not win a single race in F3000, the GP2 of his time!

      Futhermore, Bruno has spent the last few years without a proper chance to develop as a driver, due to Honda retirement and all the effects of financial crisis. Lack of testing didn’t help him either. Considering all this I think he has shown real promise and things can only improve now he arrives to the tracks where he has experience with a good/average F1 car.

      1. tom in adelaide says:

        Imagine he had gotten that Brawn drive…. and gone on to win the WDC. What a story that would have been.

      2. Fernando Cruz says:

        Yes, it would be great but it wasn’t to be. Hamilton almost won the championship in his rookie season and Bruno was denied a shot at it whe he lost that Brawn drive. It’s true Lewis was much more prepared when he got to F1 but it’s also true that he did not have the best car and he almost did it in 2007! Bruno in 2009 would have the advantage of the best car had he started with Brawn. Being a rookie I believe he wouldn’t do it, but he could have won races and give a hard time to Button for the championship!

      3. jawsf1 says:

        Wasnt Damon close to winning A few f3000 races only for mechanical faliure to stop him?.

        damon did actually do most of the development work for fw14b which Nigel mansell has a lot to thank him for as he helped to iron out the problems with the active suspension.

        also Damon finished second to ayrton in only his second race of 93 surviving a torential downpour in Brazil that got the best of then 3 & later 4 time world champion alain prost.

        Bruno has struggled to match a guy who is fast but took three attempts to win gp2-different levels of car competitiveness I know but still……

        I like bruno & hope he does well but to say he deserves the drive more than Damon did for me is a bit far fetched. he did deserve it more than rubens but then so did hulkenberg the year before.

      4. Fernando Cruz says:

        Yes, he was close but was unlucky not to win any F3000 races. Had he won them he could have similar results to those achieved by Bruno in GP2. But Hill took almost 10 years from his first race in cars (1983) to his first in F1 (1992), while Bruno took only 4 years in junior categories. So Bruno showed more skill and much earlier than Damon.

        In F1 we can’t really compare as Damon entered his first full season with a great car and almost unlimited testing. I believe Bruno would do as good if not better had he started in F1 with a great car and the same amount of testing. But looking only at results both got in junior categories, Bruno really deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 (aged 25) than Hill deserved to be in Williams in 1993 (aged 31).

    3. Wayne says:

      Could not agree more, Senna won another award this year purely and simply because of his surname – the whole sorry episode is getting tiresome, and the award thing was cringeworthy.

      1. Fernando Cruz says:

        B. Senna won Bandini’s prize for what he has done last year at Spa, even outqualifying Alonso with almost no mileage in the car and starting only in the 12th GP of that year. He had a very good race in Monza and qualified in Top 10 four times. Giving all the time he lost he showed real promise and the jury took that into consideration. People think the prize refers to the year in course but that is not true. Example: Grosjean may win the prize in 2013 for his achievements this year.

        Also I think Perez or di Resta deserved that prize more than Bruno for what they have done in 2011. But giving the same amount of time to develop in F1, as well as the same conditions, Bruno can do as good as any of them in the future.

  6. Rich B says:

    i really like bruno but bottas does look very good. even if bruno beats pastor from now on i doubt he’ll remain in the team because they need pastors money. i hope bruno finds a seat elsewhere.

    1. Optimaximal says:

      If Senna turns good results and moves Williams up the table, possibly even ahead of Mercedes, then the greater return from the constructors, along with the sponsorship he does bring, could see him sticking around.

      After all, isn’t Pastors sponsorship a three year deal?

  7. ian says:

    I wish I could believe Bruno was going to shine for the rest if the year, but I don’t. Hope I am proved wrong.

  8. W Johnson says:

    Hi James,

    This off topic but I noticed that Italian is now being used over the radio by Ferrari during the race…except of course when they wish to express opinions on racing incidents etc with the intention of trying to influence Charlie Whiting or FIA Race Control.

    I thought all communication had to be in English or has FIA changed this ruling?

    It would also be good if the TV commentary could give a good translation when Italian is spoken.

    1. James Allen says:

      There is no rule about what language they have to use over radio.

      Most teams have at least one Italian speaker on the team whose job is to translate. But it takes time, delays the understanding, so it’s a small tactical advantage. And anyway it discourages the TV director from using it too often. It’s clever.

      Jaime Alguersuari and I both speak Italian so BBC Radio 5 listeners are catered for, I can’t speak for what what happens on TV.

      1. James Clayton says:

        I don’t know if it discourages the director from using it. If anything, I’ve noticed a lot *more* of Ferrari’s transmissions being aired since they started using Italian.

      2. Graham says:

        So when are you going to get the gig on the Telly then?

        JA & DC on the BBC for F1….. Acronym central! :-)

        G

      3. James Allen says:

        Very happy on 5 Live thanks

      4. Mitchel says:

        Advantage BBC Radio 5!

      5. Jon Wilde says:

        Thanks for the reminder James, I forgot your Italian skills!

        …. not sure I want to give up TV coverage though.

        Any chance you could tweet the translations?

      6. MISTER says:

        James, I tried to sincronize your radio feed with the tv images and just doesn’t work. The TV images are about 7-8 sec behind your feed.

        Is there a way to fix that? Thanks

      7. James Allen says:

        Depends what pictures you are watching I’m sure terrestrial is faster than that

      8. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Has your TV set DDRS??

      9. Brisbane Bill says:

        You need to download some Audio Delay software (do a search and you will come up with several options). You take the audio output from your radio signal (or even stream it online via your PC or laptop), run it through the Audio Delay software and then output the sound through your PC speakers or through the line out and into your hi-fi system. Not too difficult.

      10. Optimaximal says:

        I was under the impression that the live images were *slightly* delayed to allow the commenters to talk about what the viewer will see, not what they just saw. A number of live events (sporting or other) are handled this way, although it has the side effect of sometimes making the commentators almost prescient.

      11. Martin says:

        Hidden talents. I’ve been impressed with Gavin Emmett’s abiity to translate various languages after Moto3 and Moto2. I can’t recall an F1 driver who couldn’t answer questions to some degree in English.

        On languages and pronunciation, I’ve noticed David Croft tends to say “Fettle” when introducing Sebastian in the interviews in the German way, but tends to drift back to Vettel in commentary.

        You’d be much better placed than me, but I would have thought Daniel Ricciardo would follow a similar sound to ciao, so the last thing you’d do is emphasise the second i. When I’ve heard him say it on One HD, it was Ric-cardo.

        Cheers,
        Martin

      12. DonSimón says:

        Show off!

      13. David says:

        James,

        It’s summer break, so I’ll ask this in hopes you have a chance to answer: how did you come to learn Italian?

        best wishes,
        David

      14. James Allen says:

        At school. I was majoring in French and English and they offered other languages including Italian, it’s been very useful in F1

  9. Roger Hoyes says:

    I like Bruno. Heres to a good second half of the season. Also, well done Damon Hill, silver medal at the Olympics.(but for Germany!)

  10. Andrew Kirk says:

    A comment like that can often be the kiss or death of a driver but hopefully Senna begins to match Pastor in qualifying. With Pastor grabbing all the headlines this year (not all for the right reasons) Senna needs to establish himself a bit more in the races and drives like Hungary will do just that.

  11. CanadaGP says:

    If consistency is the aim, how about Senna instead of Massa in the Ferrari No. 2 seat? I haven’t seen anything to suggest that Senna Jr. is a future WDC but he does seem to have a steady hand and a level head. Ferrari is not looking for a co-No. 1 with Alonso but someone who can bring in the points race after race and contribute to winning the WCC. At 28, I don’t think Bruno is going to get faster but he can become better at race craft. He can be Fernando’s wing man for the rest of their careers and retire together to make way for the Vettel era in Ferrari’s future.

    1. MISTER says:

      I don’t think Alonso will retire after 2015. Why would he do that? I think is more likely for Ferrari to extend his contract if his form is like this year. That will mean that they don’t even need Vettel.
      Why fix something that isn’t broken?

  12. Wade Parmino says:

    Bruno is a decent driver, but I don’t think he will be able to live up to the expectations placed on him by his last name. Most of the sons and nephews of past Greats (Andretti, Brabham, Fittipaldi, Piquet) haven’t been that great. Villenueve and Hill are the exceptions.

    Perhaps Prost’s son has not chosen to compete in F1 because of this same pressure that would be placed on him. Nicholas Prost is also a really good driver and it would be tremendous to see the names Senna and Prost on the F1 grid again. But not at the bottom or middle of the field; that would be sad, much like Schumacher’s comeback (which I really hope massively improves next year).

    1. Fernando Cruz says:

      D. Hill and J. Villeneuve started in F1 with the best car and that makes all the difference. Had B. Senna started with Brawn in 2009 he would probably have won races. Starting with a winning car the year after winning races in GP2 would have made all the difference. People tend to forget that B. Senna had better results than D. Hill in junior categories. Having the same luck than Hill had he would probably achieve better results than Hill also in F1.

      It’ s true it seems almost impossible having two great champions in the same family but Hill and Villeneuve are no exceptions, even if they managed to become champions. But Gilles or Graham were much better than Jacques or Damon, just like Ayrton was much better than Bruno. Also remember that Damon and Bruno started their careers very late. Bruno in particular could have been a great champion had Ayrton not died. He was beating his uncle in karts and with his help and advise he would surely get to F1 much younger and much more developed.

  13. forzaminardi says:

    I suppose Senna’s performance in Hungary was OK or even fairly good, but it wasn’t before time. He looked good last year at Spa for Renault/Lotus so perhaps he can keep improving now. Quite clearly there remains a financial imperative at Williams, but as I’ve commented before, if they’d kept Rubens they’d be a good 40-odd points further up the Constructor’s table in my opinion. So far Maldonado is fast but can barely string 5 laps together – surely we imagined Spain? – while Hungary aside, Senna has been consistent but slow.

    1. James Clayton says:

      “but as I’ve commented before, if they’d kept Rubens they’d be a good 40-odd points further up the Constructor’s table in my opinion”

      But if they had kept Rubens they may not have had the funds to build a car CAPABLE of getting another 40 points in the constructor’s championship.

      Tricky one…

    2. Kenny says:

      I doubt Rubens would have done anything better… he didnt blow Maldonado away last year either, and Maldonado has more experience this year..
      add to that, without the money of both drivers, the car would not be as quick as it is this year, so if they would have Rubens, they would have less money and the car would be slower :)

      1. forzaminardi says:

        Maldonado’s qualifying record was good against Rubens last season, but Rubens destroyed him in the races. Rubens typically finished higher then he started and Maldonado finished lower than he started. The only exception was Monaco, where (in retrospect, no surprise) Maldonado crashed out. Yes Maldonado is more experienced this season, and certainly seems to make the most of the improved car in qualifying but Spain aside, his racecraft has clearly not improved. If we assume Rubens had been at roughly the same level compared to Maldonado as in 2011, I think its fair to say that he’d typically be finishing around about (maybe a couple of positions higher, maybe a couple lower) where Maldonado runs before Maldonado stuffs it up, except Rubens would bring the car home in one piece.

    3. Fernando Cruz says:

      “…Hungary aside, Senna has been consistent but slow.”

      Bruno has been quick in most races but starting so far back he could not collect many points. I agreee Barrichello would have more (points) but never “a good 40-odd points further up the Construtors’s table.” Maybe if you count Maldonado mistakes, but Bruno can’t be blamed for the points the venezuelan lost with crashes and penalties.

  14. Elie says:

    Yeah I’m not convinced with Bruno ! Why did it take till Bottas started driving on Fridays before he “came of age”. I don’t think he has what it takes to be a champion- I could definitely be wrong ..but I really like te sound of a Finn that doesnt say too much yet everyone is impressed with his speed.. Sound familiar!

    1. Thomas says:

      The car was modified to suit his driving style, he needed more front end grip.

      Even World Champions can get caught out by a setup that doesn’t suit their style, ALA Button this year.

    2. Jon Wilde says:

      Bottas whilst fast needs to work on his sense of humour. A friend and I spotted him by the paddock in Hockenheim and asked for his autograph.
      Whilst he was signing my bargeboard, we asked Bottas about his chances for next year he replied “no comment”
      to which my friend joked ” Well just keep sabotaging Senna’s car and you’ll get the drive for sure”
      Bottas looked at him and said ” I’m not sabotaging anyone’s car”
      He handed me back the pen (without signing the cap i had for him) and walked away refusing to stop for anyone else….. Not the sign of a driver for the people!

      :)

      1. Elie says:

        Oh ok.. Thanks for sharing that Jon. Yeah agree drivers could be a bit more friendly at times. On the flip side that’s also how many rumors start in F1..eg, He told me that …he might get a run next year”… becomes “Williams have signed Bottas ..” after a few hundred forums translate it!! Same as a joke about sabotaging someone’s cars in the public domain you can only imagine the rumors that he would have to fend off from the media.
        Raikkonen says nothing in public but he is a real party animal and a joker in private from what thise close ti him sat..Its because he knows how people: media twists things around to make a story.

      2. Kay says:

        As Joker would say: Why so serious? :D

      3. forzaminardi says:

        Sounds like you rumbled him and he didn’t like it…!

      4. Antti says:

        Maybe there is something wrong with my sense of humor as well, but I don’t find that joke particularly funny either.

      5. James Clayton says:

        I don’t blame him. That remark doesn’t sound humorous to me, more like down right rude.

    3. Kenny says:

      err… Bottas has been driving friday practices since the start of the season, with only a few friday he didnt run…

  15. Raj Shekhar says:

    If the Williams improves a little in the second half of the season, Bruno ought to do well, given Force India are shifting their focus to next year’s car. Sauber have good days and Oh-not-so-good-days with little in between. Bruno 24 pts vs 29 Pastor is so close. And this hardly looks like the year Pastor’s going to be consistent. If Bruno scores decent, Bottas will have to wait for another year. Also, I hope Raikkonen wins the C’ship.

    1. Nathan says:

      Kimi has got no hope of winning the wdc he’s had one of the fastest cars for a while yet can only manage second a lot of people don’t rate kimi and I’m one of them until he can beat the likes of vettel Alonso webber Hamilton I’ll place him alongside button

      1. Raj Shekhar says:

        I didn’t say he’d win the C’ship for sure. But I do hope he wins it. Individual opinions are valued but he’s beaten all the names you’ve mentioned this season and before. And I’m sure he’s have heard the words ‘No Hope’ before as well, say 2007 probably. He’d be happy to win the WDC without a race win for all he cares. He’s scored in all the rounds held so far except the Chinese GP – tyre issues. Had he scored there, he’d been P2 and not P5 right now. If Lotus push till the end, he’d be up there in the top 3; hopefully P1. Consistency is key.

      2. Elie says:

        Kimi has a small chance at constructors. The Mclaren and Redbull have been consistently faster all season. Kimi has beaten Lewis and Fernando in the past Not Least of which was Spa many times.in fact didn’t he beat Button, Webber, Fernando at Hungary or was everyone just imagining that.?? Lewis was 4/10 faster than everyone in Quali and was still caught in the race. At the moment I can only see Alonso or Hamilton as being near him as racers! But Alonso / Ferrari being better strategically than anyone.

      3. mayberth says:

        fastest car ??? how many poles that car got?? it seems to me that the car was fast in race due to kimi !!

      4. James Clayton says:

        Its all relative, isn’t it? We have no reference point. It looks like Kimi and Greausjean are doing good jobs, but compared to what? They’ve both been out the sport for some time. They may both be doing quite average jobs in a car that’s capable of a lot more. They may both be flattering an actually quite poor car. We just don’t know.

      5. Elie says:

        The only real measure is looking collectively at Quali pace, race pace, and race wins and clearly Red Bull, Mclaren and even Ferrari have to have the upper hand.The last two years have proved to many that 150kg of fuel is just as or more significant to teams as the tyres themselves -so we see such different performances from Quali to race. With Lotus improving Quali pace in last two race I can’t wait to see the next few.!

      6. mayberth says:

        lotus admitted that car is too gentle on tyre~~ hence cant generate enough heat in 1 lap!!! You want ref point, compare kimi to grosjean!! In race, kimi often half a sec or more faster than him!! If thats nt extracting the max, i dont know what is it!! Who the hell can post fastest lap time in worned out tyre while those on fresh cant including grosjean???

  16. Optimaximal says:

    I believe Senna’s performance was related to developments on improving heat in the front tyres (new brake ducts?). Being able to consistently attack in Q2 seems the key this year to sneaking in ahead of those who think they’re safe.

    He’s only 5 points behind Maldonaldo, who hasn’t scored since ESP.

  17. Eleanore says:

    I certainly see signs of Senna improving over this year, and while his teammate hasn’t managed to score a single point post-win, I do think that should count for something.

    I also find it funny sometimes how short F1 memory can be. Hungary hasn’t been Senna’s only impressive drive this year. Malaysia was great too, China very solid, and his last lap pass on Hulkenberg in Silverstone (while also fending off Button) was quite impressive. I look forward to seeing how he performs on the back end of this season, now that we’re coming to the tracks he drove on last year.

    1. Edward Hunter says:

      I agree with this, especially considering that the only mistakes Senna has made this year were:

      1: Australia collision with Massa (Avoidable but can be forgiven as it was only the first race)
      2: Spain spin in Q1 (Under pressure)
      3: Slightly aggressive defending at Valencia on Kobyashi leading to a drive-through penalty (Without which he almost certainly would have finished higher up)
      4: Brief spin during Silverstone race (Didn’t hurt him much though, he still finished 9th)

      Compare that to Maldonado and I think you’ll find Senna is more consistent at the moment. Also he should be quick at Spa judging from last year, and hopefully he won’t smash it at the first corner this time… I have been impressed by Maldonado even though he is the “Bad Boy” of late, but I hope that Senna finishes ahead on points. In my mind Senna really needs to get a top 4/5 finish before the year is out though in order to show he has “come of age”.

      1. Eleanore says:

        I think that about covers it, yes. I remember the first lap in Malaysia was also a bit messy (he actually had contact with, of all people, Maldonado, though I don’t recall ever seeing proper footage of it to be sure who was at fault there), hence why he was last on the restart. But then he drove from 24th to friggin’ 6th in the rain, so, that was pretty great.

        I hope you’re right about the points, and about Spa. I’m definitely cautiously optimistic about both. His first lap incident last year was, I think, a consequence of it being his first race start all year, and was taking place from higher up than he’d ever qualified in F1. He was definitely still a bit rusty at that point!

  18. Thomas says:

    The Williams car is a large step forward this year, I think Senna would make a fantastic back up driver, but what Williams need now is a driver of star potential to make the transformation back into a front running team.

  19. Chris says:

    Sorry Bruno, your trading off your name (don’t say I blame you mind). Frank should no better than to claim such things, but maybe he’s trying to spark young Bruno (at 28 – hmmm) into life. One good drive in a good car doesn’t make up for 10 bad ones (and lets face it, generally poor at Lotus to, though I loved seeing Senna in a black and gold lotus renault)! I think Williams are now in a position to snatch a top driver, or at least one that may become great.

    1. Brent McMaster says:

      I agree. 28 years old, almost 40 gp’s and still waiting for him to develop. If his name wasn’t Senna he never would have got a ride in the first place.

      1. Fernando Cruz says:

        Wrong! Compare him with Damon Hill and you’ll see he deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Hill deserved to be in Williams in 1993! (at least looking at the results in junior categories!)

        I think Bruno Senna, given a great car and almost unlimited testing (just like Damon Hill in his time) would do as good if not better.

        Anyway, in 2009 Bruno was 25 and even now he´s only 28. Damon Hill completed 32 in his first full season in F1.

      2. Brent McMaster says:

        Fernando,I don’t see how anything you have said about Brawn or “junior categories” or what Hill did (almost 20 years ago)changes Senna’s quality as a driver. He is not good enough to be in modern F1, nor are several others now racing.

      3. Fernando Cruz says:

        Well, we’ll see if he is good enough very soon. I was only saying that he showed more talent than D. Hill in junior categories but of course F1 changed a lot since then. Futhermore he spent the last 3 years wihout a proper development, so let’s wait and see if he sill has time to establish himself in F1. He has 3 months with nine races (3 each month) until the end of the year. I think he can do much better than in the first part of the year, now that he has a car more adapted to his driving style and also will race in tracks where he already has experience with a good/average F1 car.

        Remember Jenson Button had similar problems to warm his tyres in qualifying and a World Champion in his 13th year in F1 should have adapted better than B. Senna, but he didn’t. And the brazilian can still become much better with more experience, something we can’t say about a driver like Button.

  20. Mitchel says:

    I think it’s great to see this statement of support for a driver who is showing quiet promise.

    This is why everyone likes Williams and no-one likes Torro Rosso!

  21. Wheels says:

    Although erratic, I think Bruno Senna’s progress has been impressive enough for Williams to, at least, consider keeping him on for another season. At the same time, Bruno can’t really afford anymore on track lapses or qualifying doldrums.

    I recall not being, particularly, awestruck with Bruno’s performances in GP2, but to be fair, I remember him not having had very much open-wheel racer experience at that time. Still, he was quite competitive in that series.

    As for Bottas, he’s shown well during Friday morning practice sessions, but I don’t see him stepping in and doing anything extraordinary, or outperforming Williams’ other drivers, at this stage. Bring him on slowly. Keep the pressure off….

    I think back, some years, and remember how truly impressive Robert Kubica performed for BMW during Friday morning practice sessions…. So much so, that Dr. Thiessen & Co. had no choice but to dump Jacques Villenueve like a sack of “hot dawg doo”, and bring rookie Kubica on board.

    For me, Kubica’s third driver showings put Botta’s Friday practice drives in perspective.

    1. quest says:

      It is questionable to compare two regular drivers from the same team during the same practice session because they might be trying differnt things.

      And here you are trying to compare two test drivers from differnt teams during practice sessions six years apart.

      1. Wheels says:

        Quest, homey!

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but, the old adage goes: “the first person you (an F1 driver) wants to beat (on track) is your teammate.”

        Man, where do you come off claiming that you can’t compare teammates. In fact, you compare then in every facet of their respective careers. Furthermore practice sessions lead to qualifying etc, etc…. I don’t know what F1 your watching (or reading about) but absolutely everywhere in the media (saturated) there are teammate comparisons.

        Secondly, about Kubica/Bottas…. I was merely comparing the two drivers performances on track, who was the most impressive, and the final conclusion (Kubica was, all but, race seat-fitted by this time that season), during Friday morning practice sessions–that’s it….

        Just to refresh your memory, Jacques Villeneuve was not only a vet of (about) 8 seasons at the time, but also an F1 World Champ when Kubica climbed into the cockpit of a Sauber BMW for his first race practice. Week’s later Jacques was (mid season) history.

        There’s no comparison here–that’s just fact! And I would venture to say that recent F1 history is now, in the recent past, and will in the near future, back-up my comment about Kubica/Bottas.

      2. quest says:

        Lot of times, teammates run different programmes during practice and the main aim never to set the fastest time. So it does’nt make that much sense to make comparisons based on practice sessions.

        I completely agree with you that teammates and their results. I am sure you already know that Kubica had a losing record against teammates over his career.

        And sorry to burst your bubble, but Kubica is not longer in F1 and most probably will not return. On the other hand, most people would agree that Bottas most likely has bright career ahead of him in F1.

      3. Wheels says:

        Forget about it Quest….

        First of all I’ve made no teammates comparisons nor practice time comparisons. At the same time, Robert Kubica (due to his Friday morning practice performances) is directly responsible for Team managers even considering replacing race drivers with inexperienced third drivers mid-season. Lastly, Robert Kubica is out of F1 due to tragic circumstances. I’m no Kubica fan, (Hamilton all the way!) but I find your reference to Robert’s demise as an F1 driver very callous, at best….

      4. quest says:

        Hamilton is a great driver.Kubica was also a very good driver and it’s unfortunate what happened to him.

        The point I was trying to make is that their acievements are no reason to diss Bottas ever before he has made his debut. Let him have a fair crack at it if and when he gets a chance. Then you can judge him.

      5. Wheels says:

        Quest, buddy, again, where have I dissed Bottas!

        Man the kid is very talented! You don’t climb into an F1 car and show as well as Valteri has and have no ability or not belong where he is….

        I just don’t think he has shown enough to immediately unseat Bruno Senna, that’s all…. Whereas, Kubica’s performance on Friday mornings led to a former F1 champ and long time vet getting the boot! It’s as simple as that….

        Hey, I’m sure Valteri will be signed to an F1 contract in the near future–maybe, even, next season.

  22. Richard says:

    I think the problem with any driver team mate comparison is that set up and balance relative to the tyres and track characteristics does muddy the water somewhat and can effect the car peformance so much particularly in qualifying. Personally I like Bruno and I hope he can improve as his engineers get a handle on how to set the car up. Maldonado on the other hand is at times excessively aggressive and needs to operate within the rules rather than resort to the “red mist” displays we have seen from time to time, but he has put in some very good performances.

  23. Gubstar says:

    Great work James, this website gets better and better every year.[mod]. Now that he has his front tyre issue sorted, I am very confident that he will shine for the rest of the season. Bruno definately has the talent, as do ALL the drivers on the grid, otherwise they wouldnt be there, sponsorship or no sponsorship (they do not sell, or give superlicences away)It is a much more technical sport now compared to when his uncle was around, and people tend to forget this.
    Bottas absolutely has pace, but his racecraft should definately be called to question after his season in the lower series and no GP2 experience, so it makes sense for Williams to not “rush him into a seat”
    Bruno will be quick for the last half of the season, guaranteed. Now roll on Spa and Monza where he has been very quick in the past.
    Aand for the people who think he doesnt have any talent, did they not see Jenson and Mark try and fail to get past him in Hungary, or his exceptional drive in Sepang, especially overtaking around the outside of Schumi in the wet, or around the outside of Perez in the dry last week. If it had been Kamui, then people would have been raving about it, but because its Bruno, its just because of “his last name”.
    Good luck Bruno, I know you will prove me right, and all the doubters wrong

    1. Liam says:

      Agree with all of this but your sentence to the effect that all the F1 drivers are talented… Narain is not talented, he’s not even close to being fast enough for F1!

      +1 to the rest though!

    2. TitanRacer says:

      what has really stuck out to me is that early this season, I would watch Bruno in practice – slow and never once seeing him hitting his “mark” in the corners (isn’t that the very first thing ya gotta do as a driver?). but he had some fairly decent races. now, he really does seem to be getting on with the program right from the get-go. and often NOT with the option of getting the benefit of a first practice!
      BTW, I just don’t get that philosophy, Sir Frank… even a couple of rednecks with a decades old Ford Pinto on a local amateur dirt circle track aren’t that friggin’ stupid…

      no, I do not see Bruno as a WDC. maybe not even ever on the podium. but just maybe, he may have come of age as someone who truly deserves to be in F1. time will tell…

      just a note to LIAM: the guys at the back of the grid with incapable cars usually work harder then those at the sharp end and often take greater risks with never an “atta boy” from the media or “fans”…

  24. Andy says:

    Is that a change of approach from Sir Frank Williams, willing his drivers to do well. I am sure when Damon Hill drove they would have had a “Dont mess this up” approach.

    Perhaps that was when Williams had the best car in the field and now they are trying to get back to the front they need their drivers to succeed and push the team forward,then they can attract the better drivers in to the team.

  25. Irish Con says:

    Bottas will be in a Williams next year on the grid. Fact.

  26. Kenny says:

    Apparently Williams had changed something on their brakes, which Bruno had been requesting for a while… he finally got it, which he says gives him a better feel of the car…
    and we saw the result in hungary.. let’s see if this trend continues the rest of the season :)

  27. GT_Racer says:

    I was actually talking to some guys from Williams over the weekend & asked them specifically about Bruno Senna, How they rate him & if they would like to see him remain in the team.

    Both guys came back that they see potential in Bruno & a lot of it. They said that its easy to look at his struggles this year & use it to say he’s just not good enough, However they understand why he’s had the problems he’s had, Especially in qualifying.
    They said that his biggest problem has been getting the front tyres to work, The Williams is very easy on its tyres & Bruno has struggled to get the front’s upto temprature for qualifying, Pastor is more aggressive which helps him get the temps up. They made some changes to the car for Hungary which helped solve that problem & saw him have a much better weekend overall.

    They told me that they have been impressed with his race pace, His consistency over a race distance & the way he’s able to hit whatever delta figures he’s asked to do in order to preserve the tyres. He’s apparently much better that Pastor in terms of race consistency & tyre preservation.

    Both told me that personally they would prefer to see Senna & Bottas in the team as race drivers next year as they see that as the stronger long-term line-up.

    When asked about Pastor they both said they like him & Think he’s good but havn’t seen a lot of improvement since last year & can’t see him getting much better while they can still see a lot of potential for improvement in both Bottas & Bruno which is why they think they would be the stronger longer-term line-up.

    They also said that on a personnel level they think Bruno has brought a really good atmosphere into the team, Everyone in the team loves him, He gets on great with everyone & does a great job in getting everyone motivated & that they can see what Renault/Lotus meant when they said something similar when Bruno came in to replace Heidfeld at Spa last year.

    1. renato nysan says:

      Very interesting.

      Aren’t you the guy who handles the cameras?
      I asked you once if you thought about mounting 3D-cameras on top of the cars, just the “reply”-button wasn’t there anymore.
      would you answer now, please?

  28. Ross says:

    It will be interesting to see what they do for 2013.

    Pairing PM and Bottas together would give you a rookie and a guy who doesn’t wrack up the points. If it wasn’t for the massive sponsorship PM brings to the team I would opt for BS and VB.

    Bottas has impressed in free practise but he can’t shine in an under funded team nor is there any guarantee free practise pace will lead to results. If I was Frank Williams I would continue cashing those cheques for another season and let PM score the odd spectacular result and BS to rack up the regular low scoring positions and use some of the money to send VB out on loan to HRT or Virgin to let him really rack up those miles.

  29. renato nysan says:

    We already have a Finn who’s a naturally gifted driver and who doesn’t have too much to say for himself,
    but we have only one Senna
    ;)

    1. Elie says:

      You mean ” had one Senna” lol..

    2. Josh says:

      Renato, there was only one Senna and he ended up in a wall. Bruno Lalli is there for his name, and has only ever been hired by teams in F1 trying to cash in on his name while the driver in the other car gets results.

      Once he got out qualified by Klien by a second, we knew he was nothing.

      BOTTAS has potential and talent. Bruno will make for a fine sportscar driver, he’s not good enough for F1.

      1. renato nysan says:

        Someone to name in Brazil is a very complex story. And who are you to tell others how to call them?

      2. Fernando Cruz says:

        Being outqualified in a HRT means nothing! It was just a case of one car being not as bad as the other!

        Compare Bruno with Damon Hill and you’ll see he deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Hill deserved to be in Williams in 1993! (at least looking at the results in junior categories!)

        I think Bruno Senna, given a great car and almost unlimited testing (just like Damon Hill in his time) would do as good if not better.

        Anyway, in 2009 Bruno was 25 and even now he´s only 28. Damon Hill completed 32 in his first full season in F1.

  30. Craig in Manila says:

    Prior to Hungary :
    Average Grid Posi was 14.3
    Average Race Posi was 12.1

    Hungary :
    Grid Posi : 9
    Race Posi : 7

    Hungary was his first Top10 in Quali and he then drove a decent race and picked-up two spots to finish seventh. Not entirely sure that this really qualifies (pardon the pun) as a “coming of age”, basically he needs to get himself into Q3 on a more-regular basis as the car is now clearly good enough to enable that to happen.

  31. JPS says:

    Bruno has the surname will all love to hear. His season has been OK, solid nothing fancy but generally getting points in a season which has had many of drivers able to do so. He is only 5 points behind Pastor who if you take away his one win (which was great) has not had much of a year except for driving ugly. see clip!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ebzk7HpZ2E
    Go Bruno you may not be like your uncle but neither was Jacques Villeneuve like his father and his still won a championship.
    There will only ever be one Ayrton but I’m glad there is another Senna.

  32. Matt H says:

    It would be interesting to speak to Bruno about Rob Wilson’s coaching and whether he feels this has helped.

    Rob has some pretty interesting ideas around things like ‘torque twist’, warning the car what is coming and a driver’s relationship with the tarmac.

    It’s quite topical at the moment with Grosjean also flirting with the idea of help from Jackie Stewart.

    James – an idea for an article perhaps?

    1. Mitchel says:

      +1

      I find this subject fascinating!

    2. Davexxx says:

      I thought Grosjean shot down the idea of having JS’s coaching, as if he didn’t want or need it.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Yup. That’s pretty much how I read the situation, too!

  33. Mitchel says:

    The driver and constructor standings haven’t been updated with the hungary results yet……!

  34. Piero Olivo says:

    I remembered this interview very well. Once again Sir Frank Williams said that Bruno Senna is very clever. I remember when Maldonado won Spain GP, Frank Williams looked sad about Bruno and this sadness was because he knew that Bruno Senna is very talented driver but with no experience at all and the worst, with 28 years over his shoulders. I think he did a very good job on Williams, of course better than Maldonado.

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