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The Senna Name Returns to Williams

January 17, 2012

Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic

Amongst all the digital ticker-tape, Bruno Senna has been confirmed as the final piece in Williams’ 2012 Formula 1 puzzle.

After enduring two difficult seasons with HRT and Renault (now Lotus), the Brazilian assumes the seat vacated by veteran Rubens Barrichello.
It is a move that will surely mark the end of Barrichello’s Formula 1 adventure after nineteen seasons in the top flight.

One wishes Senna and teammate Pastor Maldonado all the best for 2012, but one must be realistic about the difficulties the Williams team are currently facing.
Having been overtaken in the Constructors’ Championship by Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso last year, both Senna and Maldonado have a tough time ahead.
Overhauls in the engineering department have seen Technical Director Sam Michael leave for McLaren, while Chief Aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson also departed.
This has been compounded with Patrick Head’s recent sidestep out of the Formula 1 team to Williams’ Hybrid Power organisation.

Senna has the advantage of some previous experience with the Renault engine, but whether he possesses the ability to transfer worthwhile information is a different matter.
The team’s young pairing will also be pushed to the limit by a new design team, led by former McLaren man Mike Coughlan and while there is little doubt Senna and Maldonado possess a certain speed, Williams will be hoping their relative inexperience does not trip them up in the long run.
With Valtteri Bottas waiting in the wings, Williams are flush with youth – one hopes that will lift them out of their current slump, but in the eyes of this amateur, it seems rather unlikely.

The rest of today will see much talk about the Senna name returning to Williams. Bruno’s uncle Ayrton originally tested for the squad in 1983, before finally moving to the team eleven years later.
Maldonado has not had an uncle who has raced in Formula 1. Bottas is managed by Austrian investor and racing driver Toto Wolff, who also happens to own some shares in the Williams Formula 1 team.

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