Award for Senna fails to mask poor 2012
Bruno Senna has been awarded the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy. It’s a prestigious award given to a promising young driver typically just finding their feet in Formula One.
Awarded since 1992, the trophy has been won by the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton.
Bruno Senna, nephew of the late three-time world champion Ayrton, began his Formula One career with Hispania Racing Team in 2010, before moving to Renault as test driver in 2011.
He raced the second half the year after the team dropped Nick Heidfeld, jumping to Williams for 2012.
The 28-year-old’s career to date has been unspectacular at best.
During his debut season he was faced with a sub-par car, run by a team with no understanding of what it took to be competitive in Formula One.
His career looked to have stalled when he accepted a test-driver role at Renault (now Lotus), standing in-line behind Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld.
When German Heidfeld fell out of favour Senna was promoted to the race seat and immediately took his chance by qualifying seventh in his first race for the team.
In the race it all fell apart; he missed his braking marker and skated wide in to Jaime Alguersuari.
He never really recovered and eventually crossed the line a disappointing 13th.
This was followed by a ninth finish in Italy, his first points finish in Formula One.
That was the highlight of what was an ordinary 2011.
Once again Senna’s career looked on the rocks.
He was snapped up by Williams, which was a shadow of its former self in 2011.
He has shown significant signs of improvement this season.
In Spain, teammate Pastor Maldonado drove a supreme race to win.
Senna, meanwhile, endured another disappointing end which ultimately ended in the gravel trap, courtesy of Michael Schumacher.
In effectively two complete seasons in Formula One Senna has done nothing to cement his place on the grid beyond having a famous last name.
His best result has been sixth place. In contrast, his Barcelona teammate has recorded a victory and has constantly out-qualified the Brazilian.
The Bandini Trophy is a strange decision, given that Sergio Perez and Maldonado would have also been eligible.
Perez is on the radar of many top teams, including Ferrari where the Mexican is a member of the Driver Academy.
Perez has muscled a resurgent Sauber onto the podium twice this season.
In doing so, he has reduced fellow hot-shot Kamui Kobayashi to a bit-part role.
The Bandini Trophy, awarded to Senna for his exploits in 2011, is all very well and good but it does nothing to alter Senna’s poor 2012 record.
With Valtteri Bottas waiting in the wings at Williams, Senna is under pressure.
He has underperformed since arriving there, more so in view of Maldonado’s performances.
He needs to lift his game if he entertains any thought of a career in Formula One.