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As rumored earlier this week, Bruno Senna will replace Nick Heidfeld for Renault this weekend at Spa.

Here’s the team first, brief announcement:

[box type=”shadow”]Lotus Renault GP is pleased to announce that Bruno Senna will race alongside Vitaly Petrov at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Bruno will attend the Official FIA Press Conference tomorrow at 15.00.

A press release with further details on the matter will be issued tomorrow morning.[/box]

F1 news outlets are adding that Heidfeld will be leaving the team, although there is no official word or even, from what I’ve seen, attributions of that part of the news to any unnamed sources. It’s probably just a given at this point.

Heidfeld, keep in mind, is eighth in the driver’s standings, two points ahead of Petrov. The team sits in fifth place.

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  • So Lotus-Renault doesn’t care about the constructors championship. That’s what you’re telling me?

    • sirf1

      Agreed!!!!! Other midfield teams have 1 car less 2 worry!!!!!!!

      He may get knocked out in Q1.

  • PNWbrit

    2 point lead over Vitally Petrov isn’t the way a driver with 259 starts and his supposed reputation should have performed this season.

    Difficult to argue that Senna wouldn’t have done at least or almost as well given the seat all season. Would have been a driver improving with experience rather than sliding in into retirement too… And a possible long term replacement or team mate for Kubica.

    Anyway Brazilian $ probably more useful at moment and long term than WCC.

    • F1Sommelier

      You make some good points, but there is just something about the way Boullier went about it that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. And in all fairness to nick he has had some genuine bad luck.

      • PNWbrit

        Nick wanted a F#cking cuddle? This was on the cards the moment Heidfeld signed. Either completely dominate Petrov or lose seat to Senna mid-season when BR$ were waived.

        His F1 career was over at end of ’09.

        • F1Sommelier

          I am not sure what Nick wanted, and I am not even saying he deserves to stay in the seat. I just don’t think Renault is showing very much class in the way they are handling the situation.

  • Williams4Ever

    If only they could cross between the two drivers, we would have had another celebrity Seinfeld driving and Hedna out of Renault.
    I am pretty sure Seinfeld would be faster than Atkinson and Cruise as well…

  • PNWbrit

    I’d have thought being wiliamsforever would make you less critical of drivers with at the time somewhat limited driving resumes and familial links to other drivers.

    Jacques, Ralph, Damon, Nico?

    Regardless “Qvick Nick” has hardly impressed this year has he?

  • The Captain

    HULK MAD! HULK SMASH! SHOULD BE HULKS RIUDE!

    • The Captain

      HULK TOO MAD TO SPELL RIGHT! HULK WANTS RIDE!

      • mark h

        +571

        • Mark’s not too mad to add his +571, which is a relief to know! :)

  • I fyour car struggles to make the top 10, you can’t build much of a points gap to your teammate. Ask Glock ;)
    This is not about performance, this is about that little Genii deal in Brazil when Senna and Boullier went for a fun vacation there last month. Renault/Genii/Lada continues to dig its own grave.

    I doubt Kubica would even want to get back into this team if he ever recovers, it’s really become a joke.

    That said, all the best to Senna, I’d have backed him from day 1 over Heidfeld. Though they’re probably gonna boot Senna out for Grosjean after Monza as the GP2 season ends.

    • PNWbrit

      How about being beaten by pay driver team mate 8:3 in qualie by an average of -0.49?

      • mark h

        Then try beating said teammate, despite the qualifying disparity, and despite two DNFs that were either another driver’s or your own car’s fault.

        I’m genuinely torn on this decision (see below), but numbers can tell pretty much any story we want them to. And Q’s career has always been a lot more than his Saturday showings – for which, remember, no points are ever awarded.

        At this stage, Vitaly would do very well to mature into another Heidfeld. He could be something better, but the odds aren’t even nearly in his favour.

        • PNWbrit

          “He could be something better, but the odds aren’t even nearly in his favor.”

          Better odds than Heidfeld even further maturing into something better than Heidfled though?

          Even more lackluster qualifying pace and steadier but mostly result-free races not really much to build on is it?

          Think Petrov has done stunningly well this year.. greatly improved driver, much more promise than anyone expected I think?

          • mark h

            It’s a fair point, for the here and now, Vitaly’s the better bet.

            Still, beware marginalizing Nick’s career. Don’t know the exact numbers, but dozen podiums, 300-odd points (in old money), an F3000 title, and no chances in a winning F1 car is nowt to be sniffed at.

            He may well have won in Montreal without team orders – now, I’d have made the same call as BMW in that race, but it was still harsh on Nick and technically illegal at the time.

            Woulda coulda shoulda, I guess, but I do wonder what Heidfeld might have made of the chances given to someone like David Coulthard.

      • Rich

        Qualifying does not bring points, it helps set up the race strategically. Let’s have a look at another statistic for the first half of the season…

        “the drivers who have been overtaken the most are: Heikki Kovalainen who has been passed 39 times, Timo Glock 34, Jarno Trulli 33, Petrov 32”

        Source: http://www.yallaf1.com/2011/08/10/webber-%E2%80%98king-of-the-overtakers%E2%80%99-so-far-in-2011/

        Nick has the eighth most number of points despite more DNF than the other top-scoring drivers, Petrov has far fewer overtakes.

        Personally I would rather have a racing driver who moves forward during a race than slides backwards.

        The Telegraph’s F1 correspondent Tom Cary revealed via Twitter on Thursday that ‘Heidfeld went to court yesterday to try to hang on to his Renault seat’.

        Boullier’s reply to What are your expectation levels going into this Grand Prix?

        “Our expectations are still to finish with both cars in the top 10. We need to catch up with Mercedes GP”

  • Well, at least they’re still quicker than Williams

  • mark h

    Very harsh decision, if you ask me, but then this is a very harsh business.

    Guess it’s convenient for Team Genii to divert attention away from their (swiftly) waning pace, unreliable car and uncertain fiscal future by diverting our attention to this issue. That, and they really do look like they need the money. So there’s the bitterness vented on my Heidfeld affinity…

    …on the other hand, I’m truly delighted to see Bruno get a proper shot. No, his CV’s not the best – but considering the massive hole in it when he didn’t race at all in his formative years, it’s arguably the best in F1 for a great many years. He made it with a disadvantage just as great (his past) as the benefit he has (his past)… Don’t write him off just yet.

    Still sad it’s at Q’s expense.

    • F1Sommelier

      Mark you make a great point about Senna and seeing what he can do with a proper chance. I completely agree on the Heidfeld situation. Any respect I gained for Boullier in doing what he did last season has been completely lost by the way he has handled Heidfeld this year.

      • MIE

        As I see it driving for the current incarnation of Renault is not going to do favours for any driver. The car doesn’t seem to be developing this season and has steadily slipped down the field. Heidfeld is probably better off out of there, but it may also kill off any hopes Senna (or Grosjean) have of getting a decent drive.

  • Nick has been poor mainly this season. Didn’t do enough to keep the seat, whether mini-Senna can make the most of this remains to be seen. He won’t have the excuse of driving a HRT now.

  • Mark and Raith have highlighted the one bright spot here (as a more-or-less Nick fan): We’ll get to see what Senna has in those impressive genes of his. Although we probably won’t be seeing as much as we might have at the beginning of the year, given Renault’s drop-off.

  • gsprings

    oh well,i suppose it’s time for a new youth movement in f1 anyways

  • It’s a shame Nick has not been able to step up and make the Renault team his this year. It all started out with so much promise, but then faded so quick.

  • Seriously? You people kill me bashing the guy. Nick is 8th in the standings and in that company the only person he could and should be beating is Nico Rosberg, everyone 1-6 would be untouchable. You’re still saying he has underperformed? Please.

    Senna is not going to match Nick’s performance. No way. Hell, I doubt Senna could even get out of a fiery car as quickly – Twice.

    Balls to this decision, and I used to be the biggest Renault fan; Not any more.

  • Well, we’ll see won’t we? I wasn’t hugely impressed with Senna in GP2, now he has to deliver. He’s far from a spring chicken, so unless he really does something dramatic, Senna will be gone soon enough.

    I’d still say Nick has blown his chance; started well, but of late has been making uncharacteristic errors. Then all this about taking legal action against Renault, other team bosses and potential employers will be looking at that badly.

    • Rich

      But Senna was hugely unimpressive at HRT – sure he qualified better than Karun but in the race Karun usually did rather better. Then Klien comes in and immediately is a second faster than Senna. At the end of the season he was only just holding his own against that paragon of F1 super-stardom Sakon Yamamoto! I wish Bruno luck he will need it.

      • Williams4Ever

        Then Klien comes in and immediately is a second faster than Senna.
        >> Not a fan of Senna, but one needs to put things in context in F1, If you remember the Winter testing prior to 2011 season, when HRT used 2010 car and Narain Karthikeyan tested the car, he was immediately faster than the speed car showed in 2010 season.

        Everybody simply attributed that showing to HRT Engineers able to understand the nature of the 2010 better, So with that logic by the the time Klien joined the HRT team the team had more data and better understanding of car. It was not as if Klien was amazingly faster as well.

        When it comes to comparison of driver performance in F1 its never apple-apple, since there are always so many variables involved…

        Talking about Klien, while so many people shed tears for journeyman like Heidfeld, Klien gets overlooked, there were so many times during his RedBull days, “Fuel corrected” the poor chap was faster than his team mates and many drivers around him, but only people who took notice of that qualifying feat were the FIA technical guys who seal the car between the sessions.

        F1 is all about perceptions and biases, all these drivers have as Gladwell puts complied with “10,000-Hour Rule”, which is the key to success in any field. Just give them a car where they are comfortable with brakes and steering inputs and they are withing 10-15% of each other.

        As I mention over and over again F1 is all about Car, the way it is designed and if the driver is comfortable with the design aspects of the particular car.
        Its very easy for arm chair critics like us to take sides of some drivers and jeer others.

        Drivers have to be criticized when they don’t perform to expectation when teams are built around them, cars designed to take into account their needs, and they have 100% backing of their team, within and outside the car.

        I have criticized drivers on this forum, but only those that have failed on above criteria. The Heikki(in McLaren), Massa( in Ferrari), Sato (in BAR) will continue to get my unwavering support again for same reasons I mentioned above.

        • Rich

          I never understood why Klien got overlooked. In the pre-spring days Massa’ accumulative points rather bettered Kimi’s while team mates yet Massa is not considered very highly. Sadly I think that accident affected his performance. If Heidfeld is a journeyman then Robert is also over-rated – his last season (2009) at Sauber BMW (apart from Australia and Brazil) was really pedestrian – bad luck affected Nick but we was consistently in the points at the end of the season. Neither 2010 nor 2011 has done Nick’s reputation any favours though and I am not really sure he had a F1 future beyond this year. Nick is lying eighth – the same position Robert had last season so relative position is the same – of course the points situation is very different – but last year Petrov was competitive at Hungary (qualified 7th and ahead of Kubica) – this year he could not get the car into the top ten so it is fair to say the car is probably not as competitive as last year.