Rumors have increased today suggesting that Bruno Senna has signed, or soon will sign, with Caterham for 2013. With whatever power this blog has, I urge Caterham to not do this. What I said yesterday about Vitaly Petrov, I will reiterate today. Vitaly is the best choice for the seat. He has real talent that can still be exploited with a good midfield car next year.
Bruno Senna had a season in 2012 in which he could have done much better. Bruno made a solitary Q3 appearance last season, while his teammate was a regular face in the top 10 on Saturdays. While Bruno was hampered on most weekends from lending his car to Valtteri Bottas, Bruno was a slightly underwhelming performer overall last year. His races in Malaysia and Hungary were good, especially in the latter where he kept Button behind him for many laps, but it doesn’t make up for an underwhelming season in a very god car. This also doesn’t hide the fact that his teammate qualified in the top 3 on 4 occasions, while taking victory in one of these instances. Bruno was a more consistent driver overall, but the points tally at the end of the season does not speak in his favor. You can teach a fast, erratic driver control, but you can’t teach a slow, calm driver speed.
In the case of the Caterham seat, there are some useful comparisons that Caterham can make. In 2011 Vitaly and Bruno were teammates at Renault for the second half of the season. In the eight races they spent together as teammates, Bruno scored 2 points to Vitaly’s 5. The tallies could have been different on account for the accidents each driver was involved in after they each qualified in 7th place. In Belgium, Bruno qualified 7th, but the accident that he caused at the start ruined any chances of him scoring that day. In the next race at Monza, Vitaly qualified 7th but was taken out by an out of control HRT in the first corner. Considering Bruno’s pace that day from 10th on the grid, it is conceivable that Vitaly could have taken 6, maybe even 8 points that day.
Considering the performances of Bruno against his 2011 and 2012 teammates, it seems fairly obvious which driver Caterham should go for, as I said yesterday. I’m not saying that Bruno is a bad driver, obviously. He wouldn’t have been in F1 if he wasn’t good. I am saying, however, that Vitaly is better and therefore the best option for the empty seat at Caterham.
I think Bruno’s talents would be better served in the World Endurance Championship. Karun Chandhok, Lucas Di Grassi and Nick Heidfeld have all had very successful outings in this high profile endurance series. I think Bruno, if he decided to try it out, would have a good chance of securing a top drive in this series, which races at many F1 tracks and Le Mans in the historic 24 hour race.
If Bruno gets the seat at Caterham, I really hope I am proved wrong about all this, because I want Caterham to move up to the midfield. If Bruno can’t prove himself at Caterham, then I think that will be the end of the Brazilian’s F1 career, unfortunately.