Ayrton Senna brings to mind images of passion, hope and the human side of Formula One drivers, often considered as mechanical beings.
The Brazilian, a three-time F1 champion, is still referred to as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport, but beyond that he was an avid philanthropist and a man of extreme faith, focused on improving the state of his native and mankind in general. A crash in Imola in 1994 might have brought a tragic end to his life, but the legacy of ‘Senna’ is still alive through his nephew –?Bruno, who drives for Williams.
The 29-year old carries many traits of his illustrious uncle like sharp humour, and a soft-corner for F1, besides bearing an uncanny resemblance to his uncle, particularly his smile.
Once billed by Ayrton as a better driver than himself, Bruno opened up to Deccan Herald at the Buddh International Circuit on Friday to talk about his season and, of course, about his great uncle.
Are you satisfied with your performance in your first season for Williams?
It has been a strong start to the season but with struggles here and there. You know it’s a learning season. You are going to make a few mistakes. But if you look at it, I have about 40 per cent to 35 per cent lesser practice time than the other guys, so it makes quite apparent why I have been so distant in qualifying. Qualifying makes the biggest difference in track position. In any race, we have scored points by qualifying better. It is a big learning curve for me. I have been getting faster in terms of performances. We have been good in the last few races and qualifying has been good, we hope we have a few trouble-free runs in the coming races and score some points. The fight is with Force India now.
Your cars have been good this season, but do you think your consistency can be improved?
You always need to improve your car. I think normally when it comes to race situations the car behaves better than in qualifying in our case.
It’s the question of working the tyres the right way and finding the balance between tyre wear and pace. I think there were only a few races this year where we haven’t been on the pace.
Is there a lot of pressure on you, walking around with the name ‘Senna’ on your shoulders?
Not really. From the start of my career I have come under a lot of attention. I have not really been able to learn my motor racing skills in peace because normally I get loads of attention. But you know here, in the team, they gave me a chance because they think I am good enough and that’s the most important thing.
To be fair, when I go to the factory I meet some people, and they come up to me and tell that they used to work with him. It’s a surreal experience. When you know the same guys have worked with two generations of drivers from the same family, it’s quite something else.
Does that name inspire you to do great things?
Ayrton is my inspiration… he has always been my inspiration for my racing career. If I can push hard and get good results, it not only makes me proud, it also makes my family proud. We are very demanding people. We don’t settle for what best we can do. Sometimes we want to do a bit more than what we can do. It’s hard to cope with it. I’m obviously very proud of carrying the name. A name that has a lot of history and a lot of significance behind. It is important for me to not tarnish the name in anyway.
Do you think you have lived up to the name?
It’s hard to say. For sure, within the kind of conditions I have driven in, I have done well. Not many drivers have had such short and disrupted careers as I have, but I know I can do better than this and get more results to prove it (that I am a good driver).