Time Out São Paulo

Bruno Senna: interview

Bruno Senna, nephew of the late superstar Ayrton, is making his debut at the 2010 Grand Prix in Interlagos

Bruno, can you tell us about your first contact with speed – were you directly influenced by Ayrton?

I’ve had a huge affection for cars, sports and engines ever since I can remember. Obviously, being in a family environment where motoring was a constant helped; but a love of speed and competition has always come naturally to me.

What’s your ritual for the Grand Prix here in Brazil – where did you used to watch the races?

I’d watch them on TV, but in 1993 and 1994, I went down to the racetrack. It was an unforgettable experience, seeing the F1 cars close up.

Brazil’s GP is said to be one of the most eagerly anticipated the mechanics to the team managers. Why do you think there’s such excitement about coming to São Paulo?

Everyone in the paddock gets excited about going to Interlagos. Those who have been to the Brazilian GP before always speak highly of the food, the hospitality and the country’s natural beauty.

What do you think you have in common with your uncle in terms of personality and motivation?

Everyone in my family was brought up in a very similar way, so we tend to think alike in terms of our professional lives. In my work, I try to be as determined and perfectionist as I can possibly be.

The Brazilian crowd can be demanding – almost cruel. Barrichello, for example, has a magnificent career, but he always gets picked on. The Senna name, on the other hand, commands respect. Do you think that’s a positive or a negative thing for your career?

I tend to come across two kinds of treatment. There are lots of people who cheer for me and support me automatically because of my name; and there are others who think I’m only in this job because of my name. The only way I can lessen the influence of my surname with the fans is by producing results that speak for themselves. And that’s my intention.

Have you seen the new Ayrton Senna documentary yet?

No, I haven’t had a chance to see it yet – I’ll watch it on its official premiere in Brazil.

What sort of contact did the family have with the film producers?

The producers were very respectful of Ayrton’s legacy and image. Viviane [Senna’s mother] and Bianca, my sister and my manager, had a good level of participation in the way some of the subjects were explored in the film, and they’re happy with the result.

According to some, Senna is to Brazil what Maradona is to Argentina. Do you think it would be the same if he were still racing today – and do you dream of reaching the same level?

I think Ayrton might have become even more influential in Brazil, if he were still alive. With more experience, he could have done even more good things for Brazil. I don’t dream of overtaking Ayrton or replacing him. I’m a driver because I love motor sports, and if I can also be good for the country, I’ll be really happy.

The audience will be excited about the film, and it’s going to be a thrill for everyone to see a Senna at Interlagos. How will it feel to be driving an F1 car with 190 million passengers aboard?

It’s going to be an amazing feeling racing at home for the first time. The responsibility will be huge, but I think everyone knows I’m still in my first year in F1, and that I still have a lot of experience to gain.

Barrichelo’s done it, Massa’s done it – what about you: would you allow a colleague to overtake you if the team ordered it?

I’ve never been through that, and I wouldn’t know how to answer that question.

What can we expect from you in 2011?

God willing, a competitive car and great races, fighting for points.

By João Carlos Gouvêa
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