The surname Senna could well return to Formula 1 next season, some 15 years after the accident that claimed the life of the Brazilian motorsport legend.
The death of Ayrton Senna da Silva, the 14th anniversary of which was yesterday, held back the evolution of his nephew Bruno, a driver now looking to make up for lost time.
“This is obviously the most important year in my career until now. It is now or never. If I can be [GP2] world champion, I can have the opportunity to be in Formula 1 next season,” Bruno Senna Lalli said. “I want to be successful in Formula 1, not just to be there.”
Senna is a firm candidate to become world champion in GP2 — the category immediately under Formula 1 — this season.
At 24, Senna knows he does not have much time to make the leap.He is aware of the setbacks.
“It’s true, it’s only my fourth year. There are people with many more and all experience counts,” he said.
He was already fast in karts when he was a child. But the death of his uncle — a three-time world champion — on May 1, 1994 in Imola made his family try to curb what turned out to be his destiny.
“After my uncle died I lost the support of my family. I was 10. I did not race for eight or nine years, but I could not live without it. My mother asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I seized the first chance to start racing,” he said.
His mother, Viviane, is by his side and had to accept that, although she also saw her own husband die in a motorcycle accident in 1995.
“She was scared, but she realized and she realizes that it is different, it is a lot safer now. She is worried, mothers always worry,” Senna said.
“The cars cannot be compared with those of 14 years ago. Of course it is a risky job, but it turns out to be what he likes to do,” Bruno’s sister Bianca said.
Bianca handles Bruno’s press relations and the search for sponsors.
“It is fantastic to have my family close by,” Bruno said as he joked with his sister.
“He is very quiet. He has known for two years that he has to be really focused on motorsport and he is doing well. He likes to be at home, he is not the kind of guy who likes to go out much. And that’s good, because you have to be very focused in order to race,” Bianca said.
“My uncle was my idol, my reference point,” Senna said proudly.
Senna acknowledged the quality of the current Formula 1 drivers, but will not go beyond respect.
“My personality will not allow me to admire any driver, because if I have the chance I will have to fight against them.”
Can he beat them?
“If I get the chance,” he said.
Perhaps next season the surname Senna will be back in Formula 1, 15 years after an abrupt end that is marked in the history of the sport.