F1 Winter Break
Audio interview: JA talks to Bruno Senna
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jan 2012   |  9:36 pm GMT  |  65 comments

Here is the audio of an interview I did with Williams’ new driver Bruno Senna for BBC Radio 5 Live this afternoon.

The interview runs just under 7 minutes. We spoke about painful memories of his uncle Ayrton’s time at Williams, the Williams team in transition with new technical staff, his thoughts on where his move leaves Rubens Barrichello and his plans for pre-season testing.

Bruno also takes a look forward to the 2012 F1 season and the state of the competition with changes on rules on exhausts.

Throughout the season you can follow our F1 adventures on BBC Radio 5 Live on Twitter on @5liveF1. And good news for readers in the USA, you’ll be able to listen to our coverage on Sirius this season.

If you have problems with the Soundcloud player below, you can access the audio content via this LINK

Bruno Senna Interview 5Live 1 by JA on F1

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Already reaping the benefits of 5Live! Good interview, cheers James.


Quick off the mark with this one! Thanks for all your hard work James. Now you are hooked up with BBC it would be great if this sort of audio content could make it on to the CFF1 podcast to download.

The CFF1 podcast content would also stand being expanded a bit to cover more detail, and a weekly podcas rather than just each race day could also work- allowing for a wider discussion than just the immediate post-race analysis.

Looking forward to 2012- I think you could be busier than the drivers!


I second the request for more expanded Chequered Flag Podcasts. Either way, I'm looking forward to some new output.


I really like Bruno Senna. So glad he's got a permanent seat. Hope Williams can make it a good one for him.


Agreed - from the interviews I've seen/read he seems like such a nice down to earth guy.

I hope he leads the team in 2012.


....and gets good results!!


Excellent interview. I've often fantasised about having enough money to fund a 'Parkinson' for F1 but always thought I'd have Steve Rider in the chair, now I'm not so sure ... except I still don't have the money!

Bruno sounded a little tired to me (busy day, I guess) but positive nonetheless. I posted in the earlier thread so I won't repeat myself here, other than to say again that I am sure Bruno takes positives and inspiration from Ayrton and has sufficient depth, support and possibly religion to deal with the more sensationlist aspects of the media.

I sincerely hope (and expect) this works for him but, if it doesn't, at least from this lifelong fan's perspective, the burning questions over his true ability will be cleared.

Off topic, but James, did you ever get to meet Jim Clark as a young man?


That this guy is a good racing driver cannot be in question looking at his career. However, a F1 driver has to be more than 'good;. It has to be the surname that is keeping him around in F1 (and accompanying financial backing which will also be taking advantage of the surname). Drivers who are simply better, in my opinion, have come and gone while B Senna holds on in there: Hulkenburg, Alguersuari, Buemi. Then there is Kovaleinen, the unsung hero of last season for me, down the field.

Such a shame to see Williams chasing the money drivers so hard while pretending that they are not. Always my 'second team', I lose most of the last measure of respect I have for Williams as soon as Parr starts to talk on any subject at all - the man clearly has no passion for F1, it's fans or history - he'd do better working directly for BE in an accounting role. Sam's resignation should never have been accepted - it smacked of desperation. Now one of the great pillars of the sport, P Head has severed ties, Sir Frank may well follow shortly and then Williams will become just another team ripe for the picking by big business looking for a mid-level entry into the sport. Great names like Williams should be protected and preserved by F1. Williams stands for more than just passionate racing, it leads the charge for the small guys, the independents and is a banner for what can be achieved by one guy with a dream.


Kovaleinen was already signed up for 2012, Alguersuari and Buemi were dumped because they're not quick enough so why would anyone choose them. Senna is their best choice right now.


I think all drivers are pay drivers to varying extents. Look at Alonso (Mutua Madrilena), Hamilton (Reebok). I think the less of a known quantity a driver is the harder they have to work to get sponsorship. I've met drivers that raced against Damon Hill, Mark Webber, Jenson Button and beat them in the lower formulae. The fact is to have an F1 motorsport career - you need financial backing. So I think that yes whilst Bruno is fortunate to have more financial backing than other rookies, he still beat Vitaly Petrov (who's not short of a few bob). Bruno still came through the reputedly thorough evaluations Williams put candidate drivers through. I think financial backing for drivers is a grey area - so we could avoid seeing this topic as black and white. I for one certainly don't think it is. I also think Bruno not only deserves a chance but has earned it. Let's see, maybe he's not good enough afterall - I'm keen to find out though!


Nice comment, I mostly agree. However, he didn't REALLY beat Petrov. They were even on Qualy performance I think and I know that half of Senna's wins in this srea were down to circumstance such as grid penalties and the like and not pace. Could you see a Hamilton or Alonso comming into that team and not utterly destryoing an incredibly average (for F1 standards) pay driver like Petrov?


That's quite unfair, he has never had a good crack of the whip in a stable team where he could develop the car. All of the guys you have talked about have. This year he will when he able to show his muster. Don't forget he has a lot less experience than other drivers as well so therefore he logically has more to develop. Where this ends up who knows, but time will tell. I guess thats what williams saw over the other drivers they looked at.


Sam's resignation shouldn’t have been accepted! Come on, what did Sam achieve after several years at Williams? Not a lot. How can you defend him when even he accepts he’s not done well enough by handing in his resignation?

If you read the reports you’d know Senna wasn’t chosen for money, a thorough test showed he’s the best man for the job and I can’t think of a better driver. Rubens past his best sadly and Sutil’s good but nothing special.


"Brazil's richest businessman' Eike Batista recently said that he would do what he had to - financially - to keep Ayrton's nephew in the sport and Williams aren't exactly cash averse."


They said exactly the same thing last year despite the millions in South American oil revenue brought ot the team. Seriosuly, what do you expect them to say?


Well we really don’t know what the real ability of Bruno Senna is in F1 at the moment. A lot of people are putting him down already too early I believe. He has had race time in a HRT and under half a season in the Renault. This will be his first full season with testing in a ‘mid’ (let’s call them that) tier team and I for one will be hoping he delivers, time will tell.

The others you mentioned have had this chance. Hulkenberg, yes, I agree, shouldn’t have gone but at least he is back. But Jaime, Seb B and Heikki have had some really good chances over a number of seasons and in my opinion never shone out with that something special.

And Bruno is not the only driver to ‘possibly’ take advantage of his name as history as shown, however I don’t subscribe to this theory. Let’s face it, he is Arytons nephew no matter what name he has whom Ayrton spoke highly about when he was young.

In regards to Williams, Patrick Head was always ‘moving away’ from F1 and started to some years back until things started to go adrift with Michaels and the team performance. I believe he became more involved again through loyalty to Frank. However I do agree with somehow keeping Williams going, although at times, loyalty and preservation of the history and the passion in F1 is lost with the mighty dollar…and Parr isn’t the answer it seems


No, sadly. He died when I was 1 year old. My Dad raced with him and knew him well.


Am I right in thinking your dad raced sportscars James?


Yes, he was a works Lotus driver in the early 1960s. Team mate to Trevor Taylor in Team Elite, Le Mans, Nurburgring 1000kms


Bruno talks about the first race in Austraila.... so it offical then - Bharain off the calendar again?


Bahrain isn't the first race on the calendar this year if it is on the calendar. It's the 4th.


Melbourne has been the first race for 2012 ever since the issues last year with Bahrain. Bahrain is 'still' ?? on in April this year at this stage


He's quite eloquent. I didn't expect that.


Is good to see Bruno progressing well, from HRT to Renault and now Williams. Now I have high expectations from 2012 season with him and 6 world champs on the same track. It is like a dream F1 season coming to reality.


Pastor will be a kind of reference point for the team to show progress [or not] over last year.

Much less pressure on Bruno to start with, but he can't lag behind after the first couple of races. I don't expect he will...


Given Renault were a better team last year, and can't see why they wouldn't be better again this year, it doesn't seem like much of a promotion to move to Williams.


Progressing Renault to Williams???? Were Talking now not then lol


I'm glad Senna finally has a full shot and I hope he proves against the current trend. Everyone seems to be clamouring for young upstarts as though age is some sort of badge of honor, and I don't buy it. Bruno in terms of racing years experience is extremely young, hope he shines.


excellent interview James


Hi james, great interview, really looking foward to read/see/hear your work throught the year!!! I hope Bruno has success at Williams...it would be great to have these two names back at the front...

As side note, a couple of weeks ago I ordered your book throught the website to get the limited edition signed by you but, the book I recieved had no signature...maybe some mistake? In any case, it's a great read...just pitty about the error in my book...



That's not possible. I signed every one of them - took me ages. Where are you based!


Hi, I'm based in Tenerife. I can send you the order number...


Cheers for that. If it was an honest mistake, no worries, main thing is the writing 🙂


Hi, looked everywhere but could not find a contact email so, I'm sending you here the order number, I received this from orders@jamesallenonf1.com

JAONF1 Order Confirmation

Dear Mr Francisco Presa,

Order reference number: 363806



I've asked our partner Grand Prix Legends to look into it.

Mahmood from Nigeria

I am so happy for this guy. I always thought he deserved a permanent seat. Bruno never had the stability in F1 to really measure up his skills. His time at HRT felt like he was still driving a GP2. Now he has a steady platform to show what he really has. Best of luck #Bruno

Panayiotis Chrysanthou

Excellent interview. Well done James.

I was wondering, do you think that driving talent is hereditary? Surely there have been occasions where offsprings managed to shine and make history on their own merit, but there are also plenty cases where the results simply did not justify the chances they were given.

And I am asking, did they happen to get the chance to be in an elite spot of 24 (or 20 etc depending on the season) in so many millions on the planet, due to their skills or due to their name and exposure they had to the sport? Because let's face it, surely having to live up to the expectations of a famous name cannot be easy and comes with a lot of pressure, but in my eyes it is definitely preferable than having the sheer talent and not being able to exploit it because nobody is interested in infamous drivers with no major sponsorships behind them.


There are billions of people on the planet, but many less that get time in a go kart at a young age, of those with talent, a fraction will have family that will follow it through, so the pool is not as big as you might think, then if the father is a racer he can train the child well regarless of genetics, I think a top racer needs good genetics and plenty of nurture, most racedrivers Sons/Nephews would get lots of both compared to the general populus, so that's why they are overrepresented


It's a good question. I was always interested to watch how Ralf Schumacher would do 'alongside' Michael. He did OK but of course never as good as Michael.

I think it's simply kinda Hit-And-Miss:

(a) The offsprings have the 'job' ingrained in them simply from growing up in the shadow of the seemingly obsessed father so they are likely to subconsciously try to learn the craft, and from a younger age;

(b) No doubt the offsprings get more likelihood of test drives simply because they ARE the offsprings!

(c) But whether the son or relative has the same talent as the father is hit-and-miss: as many parents know, you can have 2 kids completely different - so it's never certain any offspring will have the same talents. I have a hunch that statistically there would be more 'failures' than successes!


That is a whole topic for debate in itself


Bruno's Uncle will always draw a lot of comments and memories. Ayrton winning in Spa (1989 in the rain)was one of mine. Let us hope Bruno makes a mark of his own.


There is a whole topic waiting to be explored in relation to racing in the blood. DSJ once wrote an article in Motor Sport concerning racing Brothers and how it was always the younger brother who had the most success , this was before the Family Schumi started racing. It would be quite interesting to find out if Damon Hill and Jaques Villeneuve ever compared notes on how their names helped/hindered progress in F1.


Good luck Bruno , action speaks louder than all words ever will so lets see the points at end 2012!!


I wish him well and i hope the car is good enough for Bruno to have a good season. Its great to have the Senna name back in F1.


I Believe he is certainly good enough to be in F1 good enough for the top i think not but certainly justifies being in the midfield pack for sure which funnily enough is where Williams look to be rattling about for the next few years at very least anyway it just all seems very wrong as i have previously said him being in that seat seems all very disrespectful if anything. great interview anyway James and i certainly hope he does have success at his time with Williams would certainly help to remove a lot of the historic stains. in my mind at least anyway.


Amazed at his level of maturity, from the sound of it at least... I see him having a Kubica type like career progression but we’ll see... Anyone knows how long his contract is with Williams?


Wishing someone a Kubica type career progression is a bit of a backhanded compliment given where he (Kubica) is now!


and it’s an observation, not a wish per se.


I'm talking about Kubica's experience and how he has evolved as a driver over the years. Not his accident and what he’s going through at the moment...


I've been hoping (but not expecting) for Bruno to get a full time drive.

I have always thought hes got potential, and coming in in the middle of the season with no testing was a difficult ask for him.

I genuinely think there is some substance there and he now gets the full season, and pre season testing to get it going.

Gillan and Coughlan are excellent additions to the team, as is the driveability of the renault engine.

Lets hope they change that silver stripe for gold and we'll have a full retro looking Williams next year, with pace to boot.

In reality I think it will take Mike at least 1 full season to turn around the car. I hope I'm wrong.


...you know this means I now have to get a subscription to Sirius. How much will go through Sirius - races only or more than that? I assume that 5 Live internet streaming will still be blocked because of Bernie's rights restrictions?

And I assume you will be doing the 5Live podcasts?

thanks, good stuff


I understand it that all the race weekend coverage will be on Sirius


------Off topic! -------

James, regarding your new position at the BBC. Will you be joining the boys on the red button forum after the races? Your insight would be amazing!

Tornillo Amarillo

Smiling, it is an advantage for Bruno.

He smiles better than anyone in F1, better than Sutil or Petrov.

And fortunately, he is brazilian like Barrichello, so he can get the same sponsor.

So he got it.


James another off-topic question: Regarding your sometimes post-race interviews with the podium drivers that are shown 'world-wide' (except when the TV channels edit them out through lack of time!!), I've always wondered: are those dates when YOU do them pre-set (marked in your diary) before the start of the season? (ie so you know already which ones you'll be doing this year?) Who decides when you do them, and why are some done by you and others by other people? And perhaps now you'll be doing fewer of them as you already have your hands full with 5 Live?! 😉


Sorting that out now. It's co-ordinated by FOM TV and it depends on a number of factors. I'll do a similar number to my 2011 commitment.


Really like how Bruno carries himself. I hope Williams has a good car this year. Great piece James. Thanks.


I really hope more 5Live content can appear on this site, great interview James.

Best of luck to the lad, I think this is going to be a superb story to follow in 2012.


I've been watching F1 for over 30 years and always support the Brit drivers, and although it wont happen, I would love nothing more than to see Senna "doing a Brawn" this year.

It would be a very emotional day to see Bruno winning in a Williams.


Great news about Serius. I can finally listen in the US


I don't want to hear.


Hi James, I posted a polite in every respect comment on Senna v Maldonado here but it seems to have been moderated out.......

Can't imagine why....


This must be one of the best videos with Bruno and Ayrton Senna:


Good Luck to Bruno!! Hope he proves all the naysayers wrong.


A leap to McLaren after Williams would complete the hat trick of his uncle's teams haha...

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