The Silverstone race kicked off a brilliant start to Bruno Senna’s WEC career this season. It has heralded new beginnings and fresh promises. Bruno spoke to Brazil’s Terra TV on his first WEC race at Silverstone, the first win, his F1 aspirations and why racing at the ovals is not an option. Gisele L. Varotti translated the interview.
Translated by Gisele L. Varotti
On the first WEC race at Silverstone. Bruno got a bit unlucky at his first try…
Bruno: It was a very difficult weekend. The weather was cold and rainy at Silverstone and we had a technical problem with the car, which made us miss the entire 1st session and a part of the 2nd, so it didn’t go well. But things started getting better. I managed only a few laps before the race, but the car is fast and it’s competitive as we could see during the Sebring’s weekend. We knew we had a chance, especially at a home race. It was really great to start on pole because it gathers some points and to win the race from the beginning was very important.
Did you have any difficulties adapting to a new class?
Bruno: It’s always hard to change cars. I have driven cars with downforce and wings my whole life, so moving to GT proved to be an essential change. Even in 2009 when I raced an endurance race, the car was a prototype with downforce so it was easier, but as a pilot I had to learn. It took me a couple of days to get used to the car and its potential, but now I’m comfortable with it.
Do you think about returning to F1 or is it a past thing?
Bruno: I’ll never say never to F1 as it’s hard to refuse a good opportunity. But, in truth, to be there you must be in a place that is worth it. I spent my whole career winning (F3, GP2, Endurance 2009) and when I got there I’ve never had the chance to really win a race. For me, the pleasure of racing isn’t being in F1, but it’s winning and being competitive so it’d have to be an opportunity in a place where I could really have chances to win races.
Did you hold any talks with bigger F1 teams that could’ve given you such opportunity?
Bruno: You have to give yourself a chance to grow and get better in F1 so being on teams such as Williams and Force India are a way to make it worth because they are places where you can develop your career. Below that, I think it gets complicated unless you already have a solid career and the doors of bigger teams are already open. So yeah, I talked with Force India but things didn’t go well. If such opportunities appear again at the end of this year I’ll consider them but it’s different now because F1 isn’t my main goal as it was before.
Are you following F1 this season? I’d like to ask you about Felipe Massa’s chances.
Bruno: For sure I’m following it. I never stopped liking F1. I’m a big fan. I think Felipe has a good chance this year because he started well and now he must keep it up to grow in the team and bring more wins to Brazil and put us back on top.
Silverstone was known as Silvastone. Do you know this story, Bruno?
Bruno: Yes, yes, I do. I have a good record on that track, I raced there during my time on F3 and I think that I have 3 poles, one win and many podiums; two wins now counting this last one so, yeah, both Ayrton and I have a good record on Silverstone.
Tell us more about the WEC season and the next race.
Bruno: Well, the next race will be in Spa and, the tracks are those from F1, except Le Mans. I think this helps me because I know them well. It will be a 6 Hours race in Spa on May 12 though I need to check the calendar. It’s an interesting round because the track offers many challenges, the weather changes a lot like in Silverstone so sometimes a part of the track is wet and the next part is dry. After Spa, it’s Le Mans, which is the most important race in the calendar because it’s the 24 hours of Le Mans, in June.
Ayrton was quite successful at Spa.
Bruno: For sure, Spa also has a great record. I got the calendar now and the race will be on May 4 and 5 and it’ll be live on WEC’s site for those who want to watch it. In Brazil, F1 is by far the most watched and known class. I think that the other classes like stock, for example, don’t have proper broadcasting so it’s important for the fans to know that car racing isn’t only about F1, they must keep in mind that there are other nice and important classes like the 24 hours of Le Mans, whichis the most traditional race of Endurance in the world. I hope they start watching it and see how good and interesting it is.
When will the race in Brazil be?
Bruno: It’s The 6 hours of Interlagos on September 1st.
What was the first thing that came to mind after winning at Silverstone? Did you think about your uncle?
Bruno: Honestly, the only time that I thought about Ayrton after winning a race was in Monaco (he pointed to the trophy on the top left corner that he won when he was racing in GP2) because its podium is very different. It’s in a special place after the final straight so I can’t help myself but remember him there. On other tracks I end up enjoying the moment so the joy of the win is bigger than any other memory.
Do you think about trying for Formula Indy? Have you ever had any contact with them?
Bruno: It certainly is one of my options and I thought about it at the start of the year but as things got a bit delayed due to the F1 decisions, I missed the chance to have a spot on Formula Indy. I’m studying what my best options for next year would be and Formula Indy is among them. But I will not race at oval tracks. I could do the street and mixed tracks but not the oval ones. I don’t have my family’s permission to do so and I’ll respect it.
Are those who race at oval tracks crazy? It was a thing that your uncle always said: those who race at oval tracks are crazy.
Bruno: No, they’re not crazy, but it offers a high risk. We see pilots having huge accidents like Dan Wheldon’s last year so it’s a risk that I definitely don’t want to take especially because of my family’s history. I could try Nascar but not Formula Indy, it’s not an option.
What is your favourite class among F1, Indy, Stock…?
Bruno: After driving a F1 car, all the others seem to be on another level and there’s no car that is as nice a drive as an F1’s, so for sure my favourite is a F1 car. But the Aston Martin that I’m driving now is an interesting car. It’s heavy so you have to drive at its limit because if you push it too much it glides away and you loose time. The prototypes have downforce and each one has its own way to drive, but I still prefer the F1 car.
Did you bring any F1 experience to a different class?
Bruno: Yeah, every time you drive a different car you use your previous experiences. F1 taught me many things especially on the political and social part of the races. The cars are different and you learn different techniques to drive each one, but you always bring something with you. For instance, how to deal with the team, how to choose the right tyres, and you keep it with yourself even if you don’t use it anymore.
Do you have your own stylish helmet? How do you design it?
Bruno: Yeah, I wear a helmet that was designed a few years ago and it’s homage to Ayrton’s helmet.
I heard a rumour that you were called Pé de Breque (brake foot) when you were young…
Bruno: Yes, Ayrton used to gave everyone a nickname and mine was that.
I bet your mom wished you kept your foot on the brake.
Bruno: Yeah, all pilots’ moms suffer a lot and they are the true heroines of car racing.
Do you think on becoming a race commentator?
Bruno: It’s an option but I’d like to race some more years before I start working on TV. There are already some offers here in Europe so I think I might do that in the future.
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