Old Ghosts

16 Jan

After a week or so of speculation, it has been indicated by sources ‘in the know’ that the Williams F1 team will announce tomorrow that Bruno Senna will be driving for them in 2012.

The names ‘Williams’ and ‘Senna’ has, for many, a haunting connection after the tragic accident at Imola in 1994 which claimed the life of Bruno’s uncle, Ayrton.

It is impressive that Bruno has got to where he is now, after overcoming a major gap in experience in his young career – his family banned him from racing for 10 years after Ayrton’s death. The path that has led him to the door of the Williams team will be interpreted in different ways by different – there is clearly real apprehension out there about the two names being reunited (a significant proportion of tweets I’ve seen have reflected this view), while others see it fitting that Bruno has a great opportunity to progress his career and help take the Williams team forward, picking up in his uncle’s footsteps.

Ayrton was clearly extremely proud of his nephew and the talent he showed at a young age, and was famously quoted as saying “if you think I’m fast, just wait until you see my nephew Bruno”.

Ayrton and Bruno Senna

I believe that the signing should be seen as a great, positive step in Bruno’s career (assuming the new Williams car is better than last year – not difficult!) which allows him to develop further and that he will not be distracted by people trying to raise up old ghosts from the past.

I think it unlikely that we will hear about any Senna family discussions that may have taken place in recent weeks about the prospect of Bruno driving for Williams (if anyone will have reservations it will be Bruno’s mother Vivianne), but if they have managed to overcome any reservations then the F1 paddock, press and fans should also put it to one side.

I fear it is inevitable that many reports of the signing will reflect back to 1994 (I even wonder if it will get mentioned in the Williams press release), but hope that such reporting will be short-lived, and that any old ghosts are quickly laid to rest.

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