His name is historical and the hearth of everyone will beat faster when they hear it, Ayrton Senna. Now, the nephew of this legend is climbing up the ladder of motorsports to Formula 1. Bruno Senna is the name of this talented Brazilian driver and he already won his first race in the feeder series of Formula 1, GP2. RacingInside.com spoke to Bruno Senna in an exclusive interview.
Hello Bruno, the most of our visitors will be familiar with the name Bruno Senna. But there are always some of them that do not know exactly who Bruno Senna is. Could you give a short introduction about yourself?
My name is Bruno Senna Lalli, I’m 24 years old and I’ve entered my 4th complete car racing championship this year, having previously raced for 2 years in F3 and 1 year in GP2. At the moment I am busy with my 2nd season in GP2. I haven’t done any serious kart racing before starting racing cars.
How did you get involved in racing? Have you always wanted to become a racedriver yourself?
I’ve always loved cars and motor racing. When I was 5 years old, my grandfather gave me my first go kart and I enjoyed driving it all day long in my family’s farm. I tested go karts from 5 to 10 years old almost every weekend and stopped after Ayrton’s accident, Ayrton Senna was my uncle, in 1994 because I lost support from my family.
Your uncle, the legendary Ayrton Senna, died way too early during a Formula 1 event. Has his death been a disadvantage for you to convince your parents and people around you that you want to race?
I was developing my driving in go karts from 5 to 10 years old, before Ayrton had his accident. After the accident, my family dropped their support for my career and I’ve spent almost 10 years without racing, before I could start driving again in 2004. It was not so bad to convince my mother, but my grandparents took longer to accept it.
Do you think that your surname, Senna, is influencing your career? Will it be a positive of negative influence?
My surname influences my career completely, because I get a lot of attention from everybody around me, and it also helps me a lot to raise sponsorship to be able to compete. In the beginning I felt big pressure from people’s expectations, but nowadays I’m much more relaxed and I cope quite well with my career.
You have started your career, like many other drivers, in karting. Did you enjoy your period in karting and do you think karting will be an essential step in the career of a racedriver?
I did learn the basics of driving on a go kart and learned a lot then. I really enjoyed driving go karts and also sometimes a bit of competition with my friends. I believe that go karts are a great way to learn how to drive competitively and understand the basics of driving and racing but being great in go karts doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be great in cars as there is a big difference in technique and physics.
Throughout the years you have been racing in different formulacars: Formula BMW, Formula 3 and GP2. What are the main differences between those cars? Which car, do you think, is the most exciting to drive?
From the F-BMW to the F3 and finally to the GP2 the steps in terms of power, mechanical grip, downforce and braking power get bigger and bigger. The step between F3 and GP2 is much bigger than between F-BMW and F3. The most exciting to drive is the GP2 with 600 horsepower, great Bridgestone tyres and carbon brakes.
In 2008 you will drive the GP2 Series again. What are your expectations of the coming season?
The 2008 GP2 season is probably going to be the most important year of my career so far, as it’s a year when I have enough experience and a great team to challenge for the title.
Every racedriver has good and bad moments during his career. What is your best moment in racing, until now? What is the moment you would like to forget as soon as possible?
My best moment, so far, was the victory at Monaco this year in GP2. It was a great accomplishment and I felt absolutely ecstatic.
I try to forget the bad thing as soon as possible, so I can’t tell you just one of them.
If you take a look at your future, what will the future bring to you then? Are there special targets that have to be accomplished during your career?
The immediate future objectives that I have are winning races in GP2 and being consistent enough to be champion. After that, I’ll have to see what opportunities show up and I can set new objectives again, but my career project has always been to get to F1 and be successful there.
If you could change your life with another racedriver for just one day, who will be the one you are changing with?
I wouldn’t change my life with anyone else.
Although the racedriver is the one that really scores the results, there are always a lot of people on the background that also have a big influence on the results and career of a racedriver (sponsors, mechanics etc.). Is there a special person in your career that you would like to thank, and why is that person special to you?
I have such a great team around me that it’s hard to point out one person that’s more special than others. I could say that my family that gives me great support and encouragement are a great base for my career.
Many people think that the life of a racedriver is all fun and just a dream. But if you take a look to the ‘inside’ of racing, what is the hardest part of being a racedriver?
In my case I basically live for my career, so I have to put sleeping and eating around my daily fitness training and also all the extra stuff like contact with the press that takes most of my leisure time away from me. It’s hard to sometimes see your friends having fun going out and not being able to go with them, but then victories like the one in Monaco this year remind me why I have to push harder and harder inside and outside the racetrack.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
I’ve learned during these few years that I’ve been racing that experience is as important as raw talent and that, no matter how good you are, you always need to push harder than the others if you want to be the best.