Tag Archives: Bruno Senna

Yamamoto to remain at Hispania for rest of year

Sakon Yamamoto has claimed that he will remain driving for the Hispania team until the rest of the season – and he can’t guarantee which seat he’ll be taking. At the moment, Karun Chandhok is out of a drive thanks to Yamamoto, and for the while it looks as if Bruno Senna isn’t safe either.

In an (translated) interview with Formule1.nl, he said:

 "I will make the season anyway. Or I will replace Bruno and 
Karun, I do not know. But it is certain that I will run 
all races. "

So, with the Hispania team's decision of money over results (and the apparent snub of other test driver Christian Klien), the focus will probably move to Karun Chandhok finding a drive for next season. For the moment, he is keeping himself busy with commentating on Radio 5 Live (and he's pretty good at it), but the problem is that there are very few seats for 2011. Karun will have to get a move on if he is to be racing next year.

Senna: No guarantee of Hispania next year

Bruno Senna has said that the financial problems behind the Hispania team are hurting their attempts to develop their car, and that there can be no guarantee of them being on the grid next year.

Bruno Senna has said that there is no guarantee of Hispania being on the grid next year

Bruno Senna has said that there is no guarantee of Hispania being on the grid next year

After surviving the first half of the year with little resources and no testing whatsoever, it is now emerging that Hispania are now unable to develop their car properly, as they lack the financial backing to do so. This is the reason behind Senna stating that the team may not make it through to next season.

Speaking to the Brazilian media at a news conference yesterday, Bruno said:

"The financial difficulties hinder the development of the car. We 
are able to keep the team running through the end of the year. But 
we can not be like Red Bull, which always has little or big things 
in the car every weekend.

Few teams are guaranteed to be on the grid next year. Formula 1 is 
not easy. The Hispania and other teams can not give that guarantee."

We knew it would be a risk to enter into a new team. But essentially 
it changed between when we signed and the start of the season. We 
made a firm contract and we could not predict what lied ahead."

We had a big learning process. We started the year without testing. 
We have been working and making the most of the car. We had small 
updates to the car like the fuel tank, electronics... Every weekend 
we're getting new things [from the car]."

However, on the other hand, he also said that the Hispania team are in negotiations with the former Toyota team, regarding the acquisition of Toyota F1 car parts, but the situation was complicated, as those parts still need FIA homologation.

Senna-Kolles dispute was behind Yamamoto drive

It has emerged today that the reason Bruno Senna was replaced this weekend by Sakon Yamamoto was because of a dispute between Senna and team principal Colin Kolles. While this switch is only for the British Grand Prix, it was revealed today that it was because for “disciplinary reasons”, as well as the HRT team needing extra funds, which Yamamoto can supply.

Sakon Yamamoto has his sponsors to thank for his drive in the British GP

Sakon Yamamoto has his sponsors to thank for his drive in the British GP

While most news sources are still uncertain over the cause of Senna’s replacement, an argument with Colin Kolles is now appearing as the cause. Bruno Senna has yet to talk to the media or fans this weekend about this issue.

Sakon Yamamoto is sponsored by Japanese companies Sanho and Zoff, and is also supported by Arai Helmets and K-Point. Meanwhile, Bruno Senna’s only sponsors are the ones that are linked to the HRT team. If you go onto Bruno’s website (currently under construction), there is a large box linking to his email saying “Sponsor me”, which says it all. While Senna has been the fastest of the HRT drivers this year, unfortunately the team needs money, and Yamamoto’s once-off drive can bring this.

However, to do this, the team would have had to find a reason to replace one of their drivers. The dispute between Senna and Kolles was believed to have been about sponsorships and HRT’s drivers for next season.

Strangely enough, the exact same situation occurred to Ayrton Senna. In 1984, Ayrton’s first year in Formula 1, he was involved in a dispute with his Toleman team. When he signed for Lotus for the 1985 season without telling his team, he was suspended for one race. History has an odd way of repeating itself.

Yamamoto to replace Senna for British GP weekend

There is confusion in the paddock this weekend, as it appears that Sakon Yamamoto will replace Bruno Senna for the entire weekend of the British Grand Prix. The initial reports were saying this switch was only for Friday, but it now seems that Yamamoto will be driving for HRT all weekend.

Test driver Sakon Yamamoto will replace Bruno Senna for the British GP weekend

Test driver Sakon Yamamoto will replace Bruno Senna for the British GP weekend

Colin Kolles confirmed this switch today, although he refused to be officially quoted ahead of the team announcement tomorrow. He said that the full report will be out shortly, most likely Friday morning. This will be the first time that Yamamoto has driven in an F1 race since the end of the 2007 season.

It is believed that HRT made this decision because they are running short of money, and Yamamoto is very wealthy and has more sponsors than Senna. His signing as a HRT test driver this year appeared to be purely for money, and not for driving skill.

If this is the case, this is disgraceful. Running Yamamoto in practice sessions is fine, where it can get the team some extra money, but this is awful for Senna, who apparently didn’t even hear of the announcement. I realise that HRT need money, but moves like this will do them no favours with the fans, and their pace cannot improve with drivers like Yamamoto instead of Senna.

Update: HRT have confirmed that this change is only for the British GP weekend, and it is a combination of financial and disciplinary matters.

Senna claims HRT chassis is damaged

Bruno Senna's recent poor qualifying may have been caused by chassis damage

Bruno Senna's recent poor qualifying may have been caused by chassis damage

Bruno Senna believes that his HRT chassis may be carrying a problem, which has been causing him difficulties in recent races.

His team-mate, Karun Chandhok, out-qualified him in Spain by 4 tenths of a second, and Bruno believes that this may have been caused by damage to the chassis. He is quoted by Brazil’s Globo as saying:

"There is something wrong at the back and we have still not found 
what it is. I only know that it has been eating up the tyres.
Perhaps the floor is loose, we don't know, but whatever it is, it's 
serious. If we don't find what it is then it is possible I will 
have to make several pitstops, because the tyres are not going to 
last. (referring to Spanish GP)"

It may well explain why Chandhok has out-qualified him in 2 out of the last 3 races. If it was the case, I would be amazed as how to the HRT mechanics haven't spotted it yet, especially if it with the floor as he suggests.

Driving the worst car on the grid must be extremely challenging for Senna and Chandhok, and problems like this really don't help at all. For Monaco next weekend, their critical lack of downforce will mean they will almost certainly be stuck at the back.

HRT targeting Australian race finish

Colin Kolles (left), team principal of HRT

Colin Kolles (left), team principal of HRT

After the somewhat dissapointing end to HRT’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the team are looking for improvements ahead of the Australian Grand Prix next weekend. According to team principal Colin Kolles, the team is targeting a race finish. He said:

“We have worked extremely hard since the Bahrain season opener. We have worked 
long hours and successfully with Bridgestone, Cosworth and Xtrac learned from 
our first laps with the car and found a good basis from which to start
preparation for our second Grand Prix in Australia in a few days.

We have successfully repaired the damage sustained by Karun Chandhok’s car and 
focused on building our car’s reliability. Our goal is to improve steadily and 
the next step is to work towards our first race finish. I am confident we will 
achieve this goal very soon and having seen how we came together as a team in 
Bahrain I can see just how much potential and commitment we have.”
Bruno Senna, before a radiator leak causes him to retire

Bruno Senna, before a radiator leak causes him to retire

First driver Bruno Senna did get 17 laps in the race, but then the car overheated thanks to a radiator leak, causing retirement. However, the Brazilian is happy with the team's performance in Bahrain, an hopes to build on that in Melbourne:

“We need to continue building on what we achieved in Bahrain. We put two cars 
together and ran successfully in Bahrain. Now we must continue to work as a 
team. I came early to Australia to acclimatise to the time difference. I love 
Australia more and more, as I spend more time here! I have already driven on 
the Melbourne track, back in 2006.

I did the F3 support race for F1 back then and had a fairly successful weekend. 
I won! Now, I must work with the team to continue learning about the car. I 
have enjoyed working long hours with the team so far and I will be giving my
all as I really want to progress and guarantee them good results.”
Karun Chandhok just after his crash on Lap 2

Karun Chandhok just after his crash on Lap 2

Meanwhile, Karun Chandhok had a much harder time. He wasn't able to run the car in Friday practice thanks to technical problems. He drove the car for the first time in qualifying, and was only 1.7 seconds behind his team-mate after only 2 laps in the car, which is pretty impressive. He still wasn't used to the car, however, and crashed on Lap 2 of the race. Chandhok is now looking forward to the race in Australia:

“I am really looking forward to my second F1 race this weekend. I have never 
driven in Melbourne, but I am a very quick learner. I was able to work on a 
team’s simulator before the Grand Prix so that will help my familiarisation a 
little bit! Our next step with the team’s engineers is to make the car 
reliable for the race. The secret of good racing preparation is to complete 
as many laps as possible on Friday to see where we are with the car. Finishing the
race would be a fantastic achievement we will strive for.”

With the complete lack of track time, HRT did what they could in Bahrain. I don't actually think they will, nor do I expect them to, finish in Melbourne, because of the track's car-breaker record. Still, if they can set consistent laps for about 20 laps or so, then I would be happy with them. Naturally, with much more track time, I'm hoping for at least one finish each from Lotus and Virgin. All of this will change by Barcelona  (Race 5), and I will be expecting race finishes by all three teams by then.

Senna: “Great start” for HRT

Bruno Senna in his first run in the HRT car

Bruno Senna in his first run in the HRT car

Bruno Senna believes that his HRT team are off to a “great start” following their maiden run in Bahrain today.

Senna set 3 installation laps in the first session, and 17 in the second. He finished 11 seconds off the pace of the leaders. Despite this, Senna believes that it is a relief to finally hit the track:

"It was certainly a relief to make history this morning. The car ran 
as planned and everyone is happy and proud. There is still a lot of 
work ahead of us.

Three laps this morning and seventeen this afternoon is a great start. 
Of course, we could not try the car at its limits.

I am confident that we will be working ahead and I want to congratulate 
my mechanics, engineers and the whole team for their incredible hard 
work."

Eh, sure. If you were watching Friday practice live today (a true F1 fan would!), you would have seen the huge problems Senna faced. First of all, on the onboard cameras, we saw him fighting for control even in the slow sections of the lap. On the external cameras, the car's suspension looked all over the place, when examined closely.

I suppose the firing up and first running of the car is an achievment, but it should not be one that should be taken as any form of success in Formula 1. They were 11 seconds off the pace, for gods sake. Jean Todt has said that he wants the 107% rule reinstated (post coming up in a few minutes about this), and hopefully this should make sure that the "great start" for HRT doesn't turn out to be a complete liability.

Senna: HRT a second faster than Lotus and Virgin

Even though HRT are yet to even set a single lap in their car, Bruno Senna seems confident of a good start to the season, saying that their car is up to a second faster than the Virgin and Lotus counterparts.

According to Senna, this is becasue the data accumulated in the Jerez and Barcelona tests by Virgin and Lotus have already been acquired by HRT. He said:

"Lotus and Virgin were in Barcelona, just a good second faster than
the GP2 cars, of which Dallara has all the data.

According to their calculations, we should be faster than the GP2
cars right away, by two seconds...of course, much will also depend
on whether the car is stable from the beginning, to some extent.

I hope that we will be ahead; firstly because of the experience of
the Dallara men and secondly because we might have a little luck in
the way of some problems hitting the other teams again, particularly
with the hydraulics (as in testing)."

I suppose that there is truth in what Bruno is saying here, but having never driven the car, how does he know that the car won't explode every race? Reliability can't be made from data, it's done by testing out on track, and that's what HRT completely lacks.

Virgin seem to have sorted their front wing and hydraulic problems, while Lotus have fixed most of their difficulties as well. HRT may be faster, but a string of technical issues is what I think will happen in Bahrain next weekend.

Carabante and Kolles take over Campos

Campos Grand Prix

Campos Grand Prix

Jose Ramon Carabante (left) and Adrian Campos

Jose Ramon Carabante (left) and Adrian Campos

It has been announced that Jose Ramon Carabante, a previous shareholder in the Campos team, has taken over from Adrian Campos. Colin Kolles takes over from Campos as team principal and managing director.

There are many rumours-probably true- that Jose Maria Lopez is now set to join Bruno Senna at Campos, as the USF1 bid in F1 appears to be on the verge of collapsing. Then, if USF1 fall, Stefan GP would have the way cleared for them to become the 13th team. It seems that everything is falling into place.

Colin Kolles is the former boss of Midland and Spyker, two F1 teams that completely failed after a year. He has also run operations in Jordan and Force India.  However, any F1 experience is good in a team that needs good structure in order to survive.

Carabante said: “I would like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who worked tremendously to support our efforts to keep the team viable. The whole rescue operation has been a race against time, with the goal having always been to run two competitive cars at the first Grand Prix of the F1 season in Bahrain.”

Kolles said: “I could not resist this tremendous challenge and am very excited to join forces in this new team. Over the next ten days we will review the entire operation, find the extra funding to ensure the team will make the first race in Bahrain, announce the line-up for 2010 in due time and make the operation viable under José Ramon Carabante’s new ownership.”

So it appears to be looking good for Campos. If Lopez (or someone else, there’s pleanty of other good pay drivers around) is announced soon, the team may well make the grid in Bahrain. Now if only they could make it to testing in time…

Campos car passes final crash test

The Campos Meta logo

The Campos Meta logo

The Campos F1 car, which will make its debut next month, has passed its final mandatory FIA crash test.

The team’s 2010 car is being designed by Italian firm Dallara, and is technically nearly finished before the testing begins next month.

Team boss Adrian Campos has said:

“The car is now homologated and we are still working very, very hard. We are very confident about our position, and we are close to a deal with an investor that will help us even more.”

Campos will probably make their debut on the second Jerez test,on the 17th-20th February. They will also announce the team-mate to Bruno Senna within the next fortnight.

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