As one of the most talked about drivers in Formula One, Bruno Senna is a man in demand, after being drafted in by LotusRenault halfway through the F1 season to replace Nick Heidfeld.
In an exclusive interview with JMU Journalism, he discusses his life in F1, his legendary uncle Ayrton, and the expectations that come with being a Senna.
The 28 year-old Brazilian grew up with his family in São Paulo, and he told JMU Journalism: “I used to have a normal teenage life up until the moment I started racing and moved to Europe, so not only was it a big cultural shock, but it was also a huge lifestyle change.”
At the age of 10, after winning just one karting race, Bruno was already being heralded as a future Formula One world champion, when his proud uncle, Ayrton Senna, famously told the racing world: “If you think I’m good, just wait until you see my nephew Bruno race.”
Bruno said: “There is definitely a lot more pressure and expectation on me because of the name. People tend to compare me to three-time World Champion Ayrton and expect me to be as good or better than him, otherwise it’s not good enough. It’s not very easy to cope with, but it started very early on in my career, which made me learn how to deal with the pressure.”
Bruno has worked hard and proven himself to the point where he is now following in the prestigious footsteps of his uncle, who tragically died after a crash at Imola in 1994.
When asked how it felt to make it to the top tier of racing, the Brazilian modestly said: “It’s very special that I managed to get to F1.” Bruno also happens to be driving a black and gold Lotus just like his famous uncle; but he put this down to being “one of those coincidences you could never expect”.
The 28 year-old, who wears a helmet modelled on his uncle’s iconic design, was brought in by Renault halfway through the season to replace Nick Heidfeld after the team’sform started to slip.
Senna explained: “It wasn’t easy to jump into the car with such low mileage previously, but so far it’s been working out very well. Chances like these don’t come very often and I’m trying to make the most of it. I think the best drivers on the grid right now are Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel so I hope to be able to compete with them soon.”
As far as aspirations for the rest of the season are concerned Bruno said: “I just hope to score more points and always qualify in the top 10, which is a lot harder than it seems. It’s so competitive.”
To the outside world, Formula One seems like an extremely glamorous world, where the drivers get paid millions and party every night, but Bruno says that is far from the truth.
“My life is filled with PR or marketing events for the team and when I’m not doing that I’m home doing fitness training and preparing technically for the next race.
“During race weekend we have many interviews, marketing activities and engineering meetings around the driving, which make our schedules very tight. With 20 races on the calendar we end up spending more time in airplanes and airports that anywhere else.”
For now he is focussing on the rest of the season, and said: “My priority is to do as well as possible during these final few races to finish with any doubts that people could have about my ability to be a competitive F1 driver.”