Senna confirmed at Williams

By on Tuesday, January 17, 2012

© Williams/LATphoto

Brazilian driver Bruno Senna has been confirmed as Pastor Maldonado's teammate for the 2012 season, beating other candidates for the seat such as the veteran Rubens Barrichello and German Adrian Sutil.

Senna, 28, raced for Lotus Renault GP in the second half of 2011 and picked up his only points in the Italian Grand Prix.

Senna replaces friend and compatriot Rubens Barrichello and is believed to come with a healthy financial package.

It is understood that while Rubens Barrichello was the desired choice from engineers and mechanics, Senna's commercial package - combined with his potential speed - was too good an opportunity to turn down.

It is rumoured that Senna will be bringing to Williams a substantial sponsorship package worth tens of millions from the Brazilian company EBX, which is headed by Brazil’s richest businessman Eike Batista. Batista tweeted as early as January 8 saying, “Simple, he [Senna] will drive for Williams!”

Senna also beat off competition from Adrian Sutil, although the German's prospects were significantly hindered by news of his trial for allegedly causing bodily harm to Eric Lux in China last April.

Senna made his F1 debut with the fledgling HRT squad before moving to Lotus Renault GP as a test driver. Robert Kubica's injury and Nick Heidfeld's poor form enabled him to move up to a race seat in Belgium last year, although his services were not retained when the team signed Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

In an official statement by the team today, Senna said: “I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. The team has a great heritage and I hope I can help write a good chapter in their history. The evaluation process has been intense and methodical but the time I have spent in the factory has demonstrated that the team has great people and all the resources needed to achieve better things this season.

“It will be very interesting to drive for a team that my uncle has driven for, particularly as quite a few of the people here actually worked with Ayrton. Hopefully we can bring back some memories and create some great new ones too. I also want to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today. I am very proud to be Brazilian and more motivated than ever to demonstrate what I can do. Ever since I first sat in a go-kart I never wanted to do anything else.”

Team principal of Williams, Frank Williams said: “Bruno only started racing when he was 20 years old but quickly proved his talent in F3 and GP2. In a tightly fought 2008 GP2 season, Bruno finished second in the Championship with notable victories in Monaco and Silverstone, the latter in the wet. The circumstances of Bruno’s two seasons in Formula One have not given him an ideal opportunity to deliver consistently so it was essential that we spent as much time with him as possible to understand and evaluate him as a driver. We have done this both on track and in our simulator and he has proven quick, technically insightful and above all capable of learning and applying his learning quickly and consistently. Now we are looking forward to seeing that talent in our race car.”

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