Formula One is no stranger to motion. But as fast as these drivers in their cars move during the regular season, it's in the off-season when things really get shaken up. Drivers change teams. Teams change names. Personnel come and go. Contracts are signed and terminated. But while most of the top drivers are staying put for the coming season, there have been a number of question marks left on the 2012 roster.

One of the last, however, has now been answered as the Williams team announces the signing of one Bruno Senna. If the name rings a bell, it well should: His late, great uncle Ayrton once famously hinted at his nephew's latent talents. However after a promising start in Formula 3 and GP2, Bruno hasn't quite been able to shine. He started out in 2010 for the backmarker Hispania Racing Team, but after failing to secure a ride for the start of the following season, was brought in by Lotus-Renault to fill in for Nick Heidfeld, who in turn was filling in for Robert Kubica.

Bruno only managed a couple of championship points last season at Lotus, which opted to pass him over in favor of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Williams, however, apparently feels that Senna's got more talent than he's been able to demonstrate, so they've signed him for a one-year contract to drive for the team this coming season.

In moving in at Williams – the team at which Ayrton Senna famously died in 1994 – Bruno replaces fellow Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello, one of the last drivers still on the grid who raced with Ayrton back in the day. Where that leaves Rubens remains to be seen, but with only a solitary seat left at HRT for next season, the elder statesman of the paddock could be looking at forced retirement.
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Williams F1 Confirms Bruno Senna for 2012

Williams F1 today confirmed that Bruno Senna will contest the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship for the Williams F1 Team. The appointment finalises the team's line up for this year following confirmation in December that Pastor Maldonado will enter his second season in Formula One as a Williams race driver. Bruno will make his debut with the Williams F1 Team in Jerez on 9th February at the first of the winter tests.

Frank Williams, Team Principal, 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."

Bruno commented, "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."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      Tom Winch
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was a guest of Lotus-Renault GP at the F1 GP of Brazil in Sao Paolo this past season. Huge props to them for signing Raikonnen. I had the chance to to speak with Bruno a bit, and hang out with him and the team at the Pirelli test track outside of Sao Paolo for a press demonstration. Bruno was a sincerely nice guy, much more personable than Petrov. At the Pirelli track they had a Lotus Exige S that they (as well as myself and a lucky few) were able to flog around the track a bit. From that experience I saw Bruno having fun in the car versus Petrov looking glum and saying he hated the car. As most people reading Autoblog would know either from personal experience or from reading the reviews of others, the Exige is an awesome handling car, maybe a bit down on power, but huge fun. How does this relate to Bruno's driving skills? Those of you who pay attention to F1 will remember that Bruno made it to Q3 (Petrov did not), qualifying in P9, for the Brazilian GP. He was driving a great race until his contact with Schumacher and subsequent black flag which ruined his race. While I understand LRGP's decision to go with Roman Grosjean (another really nice guy with great skills) this season, I really wanted them to keep Bruno. Bruno has the skills and just needs to be in a competitive car for the entire season to really develop. Saying he only scored a few points last year doesn't tell the whole story. He was in the car for less than half the season and LRGP had pretty much stopped developing the car for 2011 by the time Bruno was driving for them. I hope Williams has a competitive car for next year so Bruno has the chance to show what he can really do because it will probably be his last shot if he doesn't shine. That said, LRGP is going to be a team to watch in 2012. They started on their 2012 car before most other teams and they have the team in place to challenge for the 2012 Championship. When Kimi gets up to full speed, watch out.
      Mike M
      • 2 Years Ago
      Shumi also raced with Senna. I am pretty sure he was right behind him when the crash happened.
      onewayroll
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm excited to see Kimi back in F-1...oh and good luck Bruno!
      TrippulG3
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Williams, however, apparently feels that Senna's got more talent than he's been able to demonstrate, so they've signed him for a one-year contract to drive for the team this coming season." I'm pretty sure it has a helluva lot more to do with the reportedly $20M in endorsement money that he's bringing with him. I like Bruno, I think he's a nice guy, and he always seems friendly with the press. But I think it's sad that the once-great Williams team has been reduced to having two pay drivers. I'm not saying that Senna's a bad driver, clearly he has some skill, but I see him as a midfield-level driver at best. I wish they had kept Rubens around for one more year...he would've gotten the 20th season that he seemed to so desperately want, and having someone with his vast amount of experience and knowledge would've been a good yardstick to measure what progress has been made. Then again, maybe it's best that Rubens bowed out when he did...it would've been doubly sad to see him reduced to being a pay driver as well.
      Yaser C. Hamud
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bad move of Williams imho. Although Barrichello hasn't achieved anything worth of mentioning in his Williams, I still believe he's a lot better driver than Bruno Senna, which, if could inherit 1/10 of his uncle's talent, would be twice as better as he is now.
      MikeInNC
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like Bruno as a person and his uncle was indeed as F1 legend but it makes one wonder why the heck Nick Heidfeld can't get a ride when he was easily and clearly faster than both B. Senna and Petrov. That guy needs a ride. He deserves it.