Senna: Force India has ‘other priorities’ than drivers

Bruno Senna has revealed he was a contender to fill the second race cockpit at Force India this year.

“It’s hard to understand what happened,” said the former Williams driver, who has instead switched to Le Mans sports cars, where this week he tested his Aston Martin for the first time in Portugal. “They (Force India) apparently have other priorities at the moment,” he told Brazilian Jovem Pan radio. “It seems the second driver has a second level of importance.”

This week at Barcelona, Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi will undergo a ‘shootout’ for the final race seat on the 2013 grid. But some see the contest as more a battle of which driver is better linked to an engine manufacturer, with Force India weighing up either Mercedes or Ferrari power for the new, more expensive turbo V6 era.

Senna explained: “We negotiated with them (Force India), but at a certain point, they disappeared and it seems that it was not just us that this happened to.”

Meanwhile, Ferrari engine boss Luca Marmorini on Wednesday confirmed that it is possible Toro Rosso – who are weighing up a switch to Renault – could cease its relationship with the famous Italian marque at the end of 2013.

“A customer team is very important for an engine supplier,” he is quoted by Speed Week, “but I do not know if we will supply Toro Rosso next year.”

Source:GMM

Senna left F1 to pursue ‘wins and podiums’

Bruno Senna has suggested he preferred to bow out of Formula One than run around at the back of the grid with Caterham or Marussia.

Dropped by Williams after a single season together in 2013, the former Lotus and HRT driver announced this month that he has been signed up by Aston Martin’s Le Mans sports car team.

“I want to make progress, not go back in my career, so it would not be easy to go to a smaller team like Caterham and Marussia,” the 29-year-old Brazilian told Radio Bandeirantes. “Last year was a year of learning, and that would have been the basis to progress, and with those teams (Caterham and Marussia) I would not have had that opportunity.

“At Force India and Williams the possibilities were becoming increasingly complicated, so we decided to look for another winning programme. I’m not in Formula One to play a supporting role, in my career I always had wins and podiums, and that is what I like to do,” Senna, whose uncle was the great Ayrton Senna, continued.

He confirmed that his Brazilian backers did make proposals for 2013 to Caterham and Marussia, but not for as much money as they would offer to bigger teams.

“We sent a proposal but, of course, with a lower value than a top team, because my supporters are serious and the image (for the sponsors) is not the same no matter the team,” Senna said.

Source:GMM

Senna swaps F1 for Le Mans in 2013

Bruno Senna is bowing out of F1 for the time being.

Despite hoping to find a new seat after being replaced at Williams by Valtteri Bottas, the Brazilian has been signed up for 2013 by Aston Martin’s sports car team. The David Richards-led Aston Martin Racing said Senna, 29, will “drive at each round of the WEC” this year. WEC is the FIA’s world endurance championship, including the fabled Le Mans 24 hours.

Senna is quoted by Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo: “Until 2009, I always had victories and podiums in the categories I passed.

“Since then, through a series of circumstances beyond my control, I did not have the same chance in Formula One. The proposals offered to me this season also did not give me this possibility.”

Source:GMM

Bianchi still ‘waiting’ on Force India decision

Jules Bianchi is still in the running to become Paul di Resta’s teammate at Force India in 2013.

At the weekend, Scottish driver di Resta admitted he is “surprised” the Silverstone based team is taking so long to make its decision.

Reportedly, 2012 reserve driver and Frenchman Bianchi is a leading candidate.

And according to French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet, the 23-year-old’s chances have just stepped up a notch. In his Auto Plus column, Moncet wrote that Force India will switch from Mercedes to Ferrari power in 2014, with Sauber having now signed a Mercedes engine deal.

Part of Force India’s Ferrari deal could be that the Nicolas Todt-managed and Ferrari-contracted Bianchi is placed in the race seat, with immediate effect.

“I am waiting,” Bianchi, who at the weekend won Felipe Massa’s karting event, told the French-language RMC Sport in Florianopolis. “It has been quite a hard winter this time because I haven’t known what I am doing (next). We have a chance, and it’s a good one. We’ll wait and see what Force India will decide.”

Also waiting on the final pieces of the 2013 grid to take shape is Bruno Senna, who has been linked with the other remaining race seat, at Caterham.

“For 2013, it is still unclear,” the Brazilian, also in Florianopolis, is quoted by Totalrace.

“We are in the game but it is not easy to know where I’ll end up even if I imagine that it will not take long for the pieces to fit together. I hope everything goes well,” added the former Williams driver. “We are looking at all the options, both inside and outside of Formula One.”

Asked if Force India is one of those options, Senna answered: “I am talking to the teams that still have seats free.”

Source:GMM

Zanardi, Alguersuari, Senna linked with DTM move

Three well-known F1 names are being linked with the premier German touring car championship DTM.

When former F1 and Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi recently tested a modified hand-controlled BMW, the 46-year-old played down suggestions his next project could be a DTM race seat. But Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said there is a chance the popular Italian will soon be chosen by BMW.

“Who will drive the eighth BMW M3 DTM in the coming season will be announced at a later date,” a spokesman is quoted as saying.

Former Toro Rosso driver and 2012 Pirelli tester Jaime Alguersuari has also been linked with the seat. And Portuguese reports say 2012 Williams driver Bruno Senna, who has been replaced for 2013 by Valtteri Bottas, did some test laps at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz DTM car at the Estoril circuit at the beginning of this week.

Source:GMM

Senna downbeat on 2013 F1 future

Bruno Senna’s bad mood in Austin may have given away the game when he was asked about his plans for 2013.

It is believed Williams plans to oust Brazilian Senna so that the British team’s young protege Valtteri Bottas can debut alongside Pastor Maldonado next year.

Reports had suggested Senna’s sponsors were looking for an alternative team.

Brazil’s Totalrace, however, wondered if Senna’s prospects are looking particularly grim after he gave ‘monosyllabic’ answers ‘or just repeated the question’ when asked about 2013 in the Austin paddock.

“Any news on the future?” one reporter asked him.

“No,” Senna answered.

“Nothing has changed?” the journalist tried again. “Nothing has changed,” Senna repeated.

Totalrace explained: “All the other questions were answered in the same way.”

Source:GMM

Senna denies worrying about F1 future

Bruno Senna has denied his concerns about the future are contributing to a loss of form towards the end of the 2012 season.

Although finishing eighth in Abu Dhabi, the Brazilian qualified an awful fifteenth on Saturday and, early in the race, got caught up in a first lap incident.

“It was a very tough weekend,” he said.

It is reported that Williams opted against taking up the automatic 2013 ‘option’ in Senna’s existing contract. The British team appears likely to pair Pastor Maldonado with Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas next year, leaving Senna’s backers in talks with Caterham and Force India.

Asked by Brazil’s TV Globo if the uncertainty over his future is affecting him on the track, Senna answered: “You don’t think about it. I’m thinking only about what is happening at the race weekend, from a technical point of view.”

Source:GMM

Contenders line up for 2013 Force India seat

The contenders are lining at the door to fill Force India’s vacancy for 2013.

With Nico Hulkenberg switching to Sauber, there are plenty of suitors for the seat alongside Paul di Resta. Spain’s Marca sports daily said Pirelli tester Jaime Alguersuari has been offered a drive by BMW to race in the DTM touring car series next year.

“But he is exhausting his options to get into a F1 car next year before considering the proposal,” read the report.

Another contender is Force India’s current reserve driver, Jules Bianchi, who practiced in the team’s 2012 car during Friday practice in Abu Dhabi.

“This was the first time that I was so close to him,” the Nicolas Todt-managed driver, referring to Hulkenberg in the sister car, said after Friday’s running. “It is positive and a good time to get a good result.

“I know there are many other drivers who want to be in the team, but I think they (Force India) are happy with me and we’ll see what they decide,” he is quoted by L’Equipe.

Also linked with the 2013 drive have been Adrian Sutil and Sebastien Buemi. With a bigger hatful of sponsors, however, is Bruno Senna, and according to Finland’s Turun Sanomat, Williams last week allowed the option on his current contract to lapse.

Yet another contender is Brazilian GP2 driver Luiz Razia, who is also sponsored.

“If I had no sponsors, I would pack my bags and go home now,” he told Radio Globo. “To debut on a good team like Force India would really accelerate the process of coming to a really good team in two or three years.”

Source:GMM

Senna reveals sponsors committed beyond 2012

Although his future at Williams remains clouded, Bruno Senna has revealed that his sponsors are still prepared to back him.

In Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s third-last race of 2012, the Brazilian admitted he is still waiting for Williams to decide its lineup for next season.

“Whenever you’re not confirmed by the end of the championship it gets more difficult,” he told Totalrace, “because the further you get, the fewer options there are.”

Senna insisted that, if Williams wants to keep him, his sponsors are still backing him.

“Each team has different priorities, but my Brazilian sponsors are very pleased with this year’s results in all aspects and understand that this is not a project for just one year,” he said.

He would not be drawn on rumours Force India could be an alternative for him in 2013.

“That they say that is obvious,” said Senna, “because it’s one of the only teams that has a seat, so it’s easy to say. We are focused on staying in Williams,” he insisted.

Source:GMM

Senna doubts 2012 title will go down to the wire

Bruno Senna hopes the battle between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel for the 2012 title goes down to the wire in his native Brazil next month. But he doubts it.

“I hope it does (happen) so that we can have some fun there,” the Williams driver is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace, “but it’s difficult. Red Bull has a very big advantage,” added Senna.

In fact, he thinks Ferrari’s deficit to Red Bull could be even bigger this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

“In India, the advantage is somewhat minimised because it’s a track with less limitation for the rear,” said the Brazilian. “But when you get to a track like Abu Dhabi, they (Red Bull) will have a very good performance.”

Gary Anderson, a former F1 technical chief turned broadcaster, agrees that Red Bull and Vettel are very much the championship favourites.

“I don’t know how Ferrari will pull it from nowhere to overtake Red Bull’s pace of development,” he is quoted by German-language Speed Week. “Especially as Red Bull will also have new things on their car in Abu Dhabi.”

Source:GMM

Austrian great Niki Lauda agreed this week that the title is now “almost impossible” for Spaniard Alonso to win.

Alonso, however, said nothing has changed.

“It’s been like this for a good part of my career, and yet people say good things about me, that I am considered one of the best.”

He told Totalrace that the key to Vettel’s resurgent title challenge has been Adrian Newey.

“I don’t think Sebastian and Mark (Webber) have improved their driving since Singapore, yet suddenly they are always first and second.

“This means that the car they have now is so superior that they can even afford to make a mistake; they have that margin.

“But we (Ferrari) will work hard so that they don’t have it in the three remaining races,” Alonso insisted.

The Spaniard’s former McLaren nemesis Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, clearly agrees with the paddock sentiment about Alonso being at least the ‘moral’ champion of 2012.

“In my opinion,” the Briton is quoted by Spain’s El Confidencial, “he is a three or four times world champion already.”