|First race||Bahrain Grand Prix||BIC||March 14, 2010||Race results|
|Last race||Brazilian Grand Prix||Interlagos||November 25, 2012||Race results|
A talented youngster, Bruno Senna began karting when he was five and often beat his famous uncle in races at the family farm. However, when Bruno's father - Flavio Lalli - died in a motorcycle accident in 1996 his mother Viviane, who had suffered the loss of her brother Ayrton two years earlier at Imola, made her teenage son hang up his helmet.
Senna stayed away from the sport for the best part of a decade, but unable to ignore his passion for racing, started racing again aged 20. Given his lack of experience his return was impressive and in just his third race in the British Formula BMW Championship he qualified second. Then, at the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix - ten years after his uncle's death - he drove demonstration laps in a replica of Senna's old Lotus 98T, and talk of his F1 future started in earnest.
After just five races in Formula BMW he moved up to British Formula 3 for two years before graduating to GP2 in 2007. After a year racing for Arden, in which he took one win and three podiums, he moved to iSport for 2008 and finished runner-up in the championship behind veteran Giorgio Pantano.
His first taste of F1 came in November 2008 while testing for Honda and Senna was expected to join Jenson Button at the team in 2009. But when Honda announced it was withdrawing from the sport, Ross Brawn, who led the management buy-out of the team, opted to keep the experienced Rubens Barrichello in the cockpit instead of Senna. The new Brawn GP team went on to win the 2009 drivers' and constructors' championship.
A season on the single-seater sidelines followed for Senna, although he did compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Le Mans Series. In 2010 he got his long-awaited F1 break, signing for the new Campos team that later became HRT. Without any pre-season testing he took to the track in Bahrain for his first grand prix, but retired when his car overheated. He retired from eight more grands prix that year and was dropped by HRT in favour of Sakon Yamamoto at the British Grand Prix.
In 2011 he appeared to be sidelined once more, but found some funding from Brazil and was named as Renault's reserve driver. At the Belgian Grand Prix he was promoted to race driver, after Nick Heidfeld failed to live up to the team's expectations, and qualified seventh on his first attempt in the car. The Renault was difficult to drive in the latter half of the season, however, and despite showing up well against his team-mate Vitaly Petrov both drivers were axed.
Senna found a new home at Williams for 2012 and was finally granted some pre-season tests to prepare himself for his first full year in F1. However, as part of his contract he had to give up 15 of his first practice sessions to reserve driver Valtteri Bottas and that appeared to take its toll over the year as he struggled to match team-mate Pastor Maldonado in qualifying. Despite scoring more regularly than Maldonado, he scored less points overall and for 2013 he was replaced by Bottas.
Strengths and Weaknesses
He missed out on lots of formative karting experience in his early teens, but the fact that he made it as far as GP2 on merit is testimony to his natural talent. However, his name is his biggest selling point and that ultimately got him his first drive in F1.
Qualifying seventh on his Renault debut in difficult conditions at Spa Francorchamps.
Following the death of his father in a motorbike accident in 1995, just a year after his uncle Ayrton's death at Imola, Bruno's mother Viviane Senna Lalli forced the 11-year-old to retire from the sport. He did not return to racing until 2004.
"If you think I'm good, wait until you see my nephew Bruno." Ayrton Senna, 1993
"Of course the name helps me, but my uncle can't drive the car for me - I have to do that myself. No-one's going to give me a drive if they don't think I can handle it. He was a great example to me in many ways and I'm trying to stay true to the way he approached life. But I don't think about him when I'm racing, I don't need him to inspire me - I'm a racing driver because I love motor racing, I love competition. Ayrton Senna was my uncle, but I am my own man."
In October 2006, Senna appeared on Sky One show Vroom Vroom, where each week he would race a different car to the top of a multi-storey car park.
McLaren signs Senna to GT roster (February 9, 2015)
Da Costa claims thrilling maiden victory (January 10, 2015)
Di Grassi wins inaugural race after last corner drama (September 13, 2014)
Rookie risks (February 15, 2013)
- 2013 'still unclear' for Senna (January 15, 2013)
February 9, 2015
January 13, 2013
© Sutton Images
November 25, 2012
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