Bruno Senna Resigned To “Stepping Back”

Bruno Senna Resigned To “Stepping Back”

Bruno Senna was, up until very recently, strongly linked with a drive for the Honda team in 2009, having tested for the squad back in November following the close of the 2008 world championship. Senna, who has driven well in GP2 and is considered a talent to watch out for in the future, was suggested as being Jenson Button’s team mate for 2009, but then it all went wrong. Honda withdrew, Barrichello went into hiding for a while, things started to move forward, Senna was considered to have the drive thanks to financial backing, and then Barrichello says he’s close to a deal.

For the team formerly known as Honda, having Rubens Barrichello in the second car is a no-brainer. Rubens may not be the greatest racer to have driven a Formula One car, but his experience is second to none – literally – and he will be able to provide stability in an area where the team will require it. Having two wise heads in the cars will enable the team to transfer to new owners who will be given the time to concentrate on ensuring it is stable and can move forward into the future. It really is a wise move for Honda, at least for 2009.

However, Bruno Senna doesn’t seem to agree and has spoken to Brazilian journal Agencia Estadao about his disappointment in the team’s decision. Senna may have every right to be disappointed, but like some of his contemporaries, the image he has presented to the world, both today and in the recent past, is one of petulance and spoilt-ness.

I’m kind of resigned to trying something else. I had a meeting today [Monday] with Ross Brawn and he cancelled.

I’m just a little upset because this situation has dragged on for so long, making me lose better professional possibilities.

Now I’m going to get together with my family, with my advisors, and decide what way to take.

Anything that I may do will be step backwards. The important thing is to keep Formula One as the top priority. I will bounce back. Bruno Senna.

No one made Senna lose these opportunities, as far as we are aware. And as for “stepping backwards”? Well, excuse me for pointing out the obvious, and again as far as we are aware, Bruno was never there to begin with. Close, maybe, but not actually there. Had a contract been signed, it would be a different story and one for the legal professionals to take up. But as a general view, Senna comes across as a spoiled child who didn’t get his sweeties this time.

The situation Bruno is in has occurred because the young driver was pinning his hopes on a drive with Honda for 2009. So much so in fact, Senna has spoken in the past and present of turning down other opportunities because Formula One was beckoning. However, with the withdrawal of the team and the ensuing complications of the sale, which is still to be confirmed, Senna remained loyal to a cause that as far as we know, made no official intentions of signing him.

With no apparent back-up for a race seat in 2009, Bruno is in a bit of a quandary. It will probably be relatively easy for the Brazilian to get a drive somewhere, but clearly Senna wants Formula One. It seems as though Bruno believes that he is ready for Formula One, and at a time when he is unemployed, made a statement to the media that anything he does in 2009 will be a step back if it isn’t in F1.

I can think of better ways to approach the situation.

Of course, Senna may have been given the intent of a drive in whatever comes of Honda in 2009, and therefore the 2008 GP2 Runner Up does have a right to be upset. But with the team in such disarray, with no firm future set out, the actions of Senna to apparently dismiss other options seems a little misguided. Assuming Bruno finds a seat somewhere for this season of racing, it will do him some good. Bruno is somebody to watch out for in the future, but right now, it is my belief that another year or two in lower formulae can only help.

Image © HondaF1.


  • Funny how he went from been approached by about 8 of the teams to having nothing. I wonder if people were more interested in his name than in his ability (though I admit I have never seen him race).

    The problem is that with the loss of Super Aguri and the fiasco surrounding Honda there have been less openings for new guys.

    Who would you rather give a seat to, Paul di Resta or Bruno Senna? it’s a difficult decision and I guess a fair bit comes down to sponsorship.

    I am surprised that he hasn’t been offered a testing opportunity for the year, but maybe he made it clear that it’s a race seat or nothing!

  • I am surprised that he hasn’t been offered a testing opportunity for the year, but maybe he made it clear that it’s a race seat or nothing!

    I think Senna wouldn’t have too much trouble getting a testing contract with an F1 team (although there isn’t much to do as a tester), maybe Honda would be willing to do this with the intention of putting him in the race seat for 2010.

    I get the impression he doesn’t want this though. That is what niggles me most about this story: “Anything that I may do will be step backwards.” To me, that is completely the wrong attitude. Maybe that’s why I’m not a racing driver 😀 but it just seems the wrong way to approach the situation.

  • The way Bruno says he’s stepped back makes it sound like he at some point stepped forward. Did I miss something?

    I don’t think you’ve missed anything, and if you have, I missed it as well. Like I said in the post, “excuse me… what…?”

    And as for “stepping backwards”? Well, excuse me for pointing out the obvious, and again as far as we are aware, Bruno was never there to begin with.

  • I think you are being a bit harsh on him. Clearly he believed that he had a deal as good as done and his family and advisors are not exactly wet behind the ears in these matters. I think given what we know and what we have read it seems reasonable to assume that he was led to believe that he would be given a contract.

    I think his reaction is perfectly reasonable. He is disappointed at not getting the drive and anything else IS a step down from F1. Clearly had he known a couple of months ago that he was not going to get the Honda drive there would have been drives available to him that are no longer available.

  • I think you are being a bit harsh on him.

    Perfectly possible, and as I said in a separate conversation on Sidepodcast [I’ll link later] I could very well be being harsh on the guy.

    He is disappointed at not getting the drive and anything else IS a step down from F1.

    Undoubtedly Senna is upset, and I said that he may have the right to be. But unless there was actual intent to sign him, which of course we as general fans don’t get to generally hear about, I find it odd to dismiss other offers as resolutely as appears to have happened.

    I think Senna will eventually make to Formula One, and also think he has the talent to deserve a drive in Formula One in the future. I linked to a post I wrote earlier in the year when Senna took a pole in France while not in total control of his car. The words I said in that post remain – it was a incredible display of car control (while not in control – hard to explain). And of course, it mirrored his uncle’s success, not only to the situation, but also the circuit and corner.

    I just feel that he has handled this situation incorrectly, which reminded me of Marco Andretti having a pop at McLaren earlier in the year, especially so as there was a rumoured link between Andretti and McLaren floating around at the time.

    Clearly had he known a couple of months ago […]

    Of course, Senna would have likely said something like ‘well, F1 isn’t happening this year, so I’ll re-sign to GP2 and teach ’em all a lesson or two’. And he can still say that. But instead he’s opted, in my opinion, to diss people who would be willing to employ him.

    I’m not employed in the motor racing industry, but I do employ people. If someone I was interested in said something similar to what Senna said, I’d think twice about interviewing them, let alone hiring them.

    Maybe I am being too harsh on the guy, and maybe, as pointed out, he was at one point an absolute sure-thing for the drive. But to me, that doesn’t excuse bad PR, not in an arena where what you say is repeated around the world for all to hear.

    I can’t believe I just used the word ‘diss’. Apologies all round.

  • This one is a hard one because we don’t know what went on behind the scenes, and whether Bruno was made any promises or not.

    Sure he prolly could have handled it a bit better, but then who of us hasn’t thrown the toys out of the pram when things didn’t go our way? We just have the luxury of our own tanties not being played out in public. He is only 24 or something, after all.

    As long as he learns from this experience, thats the main thing.

  • tanties

    I like that word. That’s a cute word. I’m gonna use that word at work tomorrow/almost-today. I’ll introduce “tanties” to the UK. 🙂

    “Oi! Quit yer tanties and do some bloomin’ work!”

    Sure he prolly could have handled it a bit better, but then who of us hasn’t thrown the toys out of the pram when things didn’t go our way?

    True, we’ve all done it. And those of us who haven’t simply aren’t old enough yet or haven’t been brave enough to put themselves in a situation where it has gone wrong.

    He is only 24 or something, after all.

    25 and-almost-a-half. But yeah, he is young. But surely he has an advisor by now? A manager whom he can, in these particular situations, speak through. Someone who can moderate his words to best fit his position.

    I sometimes moan that drivers appear too sterile, so perhaps I’m being hypocritical right now, but if I was Senna’s manager, I’d be ensuring that whatever he says goes through him, in order to ensure that the potential employers out there know he’s disappointed, but supportive of Honda (who are still a potential employer). Also, that Senna is open to offers and still wanting to race.

    Not, as I read it, ‘I could race with you, but it doesn’t even compare. I’ve driven an F1 car now and your piddly lil’ F-whatever thing is just lame.’ Because that how it sounds.

    Maybe I’m being the childish one, but that is how it comes across.

    As long as he learns from this experience, thats the main thing.

    Agreed. I have little doubt Senna will be in Formula One soon. And it will be a day of celebration. To see the name on the side of a Formula One car will be special. And to hopefully see a talent that is honed enough to challenge from the offset will be great to watch.

  • Bruno is managed by his sister, to address your previous question. I’m sure she’s a capeable person, but she probably dosen’t know as much about racing opportunities as, say, Flavio…..

    One thing that annoyed me a bit (not with this site) was that the mainstream F1 media seemed to be handing Senna the second Honda seat ever since the end of last season. Forgive me for sounding too kind, but it was more than a bit unfair to Rubens to have that situation persist. I believe Senna is a talented guy, but I also think that, in his mind, he thought he would get a drive because people like Bernie are pushing for the Senna name to be back on the grid.

    It is a good move for Honda/Brawn Racing/whatever to keep Rubens- it means they have a proven commodity rather than a new experiment to build with. Unfortunetly, I don’t know if the team is going to improve much on their 2008 form, at least early in the season. With Bruno’s youth and inexperience, I don’t know how well he would handle that.

  • As for the other young hotshot you mentioned, we have discussed Marco’s comments before, and I 100% agree with you. There are few worse things an F1 hopeful can do than to rubbish one of the sport’s top teams, all about a situation he had zero control over….

    I don’t mean to turn this into the Macro Andretti thread, but he has done some good things in terms of attitude to rebuild his image since. For example, he has been more than happy to do the A1GP races, while his AGR teammate Danica Patrick was reportedly too busy and wanted too much money. His grandpa also gave him a nice shout out during the USF1 announcement. I think he’s got a bit better attitude than Bruno, in that he seemingly knows that your last name dosen’t buy you a cup of java in Formula 1.

  • “Oi! Quit yer tanties and do some bloomin’ work!”

    Feel free to introduce some Oz speak to your work Ollie (although if you are based in London no doubt you have a few antipodeans dotted about the place) but I just thought I’d let you know the correct strine vernacular is to ‘chuck a tantie’. You would therefore advise someone to ‘quit chucking a tantie’, and I like your use of the word – and it is a word – OI as well.

    Chuck is quite the versatile word to us Aussies. It means to vomit, to throw, to discard, and to be evicted – although not necessarily all at the same time 😉

    I shall return the favour tomorrow at work by introducing some Britspeak and telling people that they mustn’t grumble 😀

  • Bruno Senna’s sister may be his manager but he is advised by Gerhard Berger who knows a thing or 12 about negotiating with F1 teams.

  • I don’t think Senna is that good

    With Brawn Racing they are best off having experienced drivers at this stage, A rookie will always make mistakes and have crashes etc, experience is the best way

  • I hope that soon he’ll get a race seat in Formula 1. We saw already his racing capabilities in GP2 series. Even on testing he did very well as Ruben was amazed with his time sheet. I think RedBull is also watching him so cross fingers.

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