Bruno Senna is well-known Brazilian racing driver who has competed in the various premier championships, including Formula One, FIA World Endurance Championship and Formula E. He is also a nephew of the legendary champion Ayrton Senna.
Bruno decided to become a racing driver despite tragedies in his family
He was born on October 15, 1983, in Sao Paulo and as many Paulistas, he was a huge fan of racing. When he was five, Bruno started to learn skills of driving a motorcycle thanks to his grandfather. Later he started to drive karts and it was obvious that he has talent and potential. Sadly, his progress in the world of motorsport was brutally slowed after his uncle Ayrton was killed in a crash at Imola in 1994 while Bruno’s father was killed in motorbike accident two years later. Despite all, his mother continued to support Bruno’s efforts and willingness to become a racing driver.
Beginnings in the UK
When Bruno was 21 years old, he started to compete at a higher level. He has appeared in some Formula BMW UK and Asian Formula Renault Challenge races. That was a good preparation for the following year in which Senna has competed in British Formula 3, driving for Raikkonen Robertson Racing. In his first full-time season in motorsports, Bruno scored one pole position (at Nurburgring) and had three podium finishes. After all, 2006 he won the 10th position in the championship.
Solid results before huge crash
In the season of 2006, he stayed with the same team and had better results. Bruno Senna took the 3rd place in the series after he has won five races and having a total of nine podium finishes. The same year he survived a huge crash at Snetterton and appeared as a guest in the Porsche Supercup but failed to finish the race in Monaco.
GP2 Series runner-up and Ferrari Challenge stint
He was ready for the new challenge and in 2007 Bruno Senna debuted in GP2 Series, the competition which is probably the best springboard for the future Formula 1 aces. The Brazilian did well with Arden International team in his rookie season. Racing against more experienced rivals, Senna managed to win a race in Spain, had another Top 3 finishes and earned 34 points what was enough for the 8th place overall.
Video - Bizarre, Bruno Senna hits a dog during GP2 Series race in Istanbul
During the break in the GP2 Series, Bruno drove the Ferrari Challenge Europe round at Silverstone and impressed behind the wheel of F430. He won both races starting from pole position but also had an opportunity to learn the track.
In his second year in GP2 Series, Senna moved to iSport International team what proved to be a good move. He finished the season as a vice-champion after securing two wins (Monaco and Silverstone), six podiums and three pole positions, losing to Giorgio Pantano by 12 points.
Formula 1 test with Honda and 'no' to DTM Mercedes
What was very important for Bruno during 2008 was that he got a chance to test a Honda Formula 1 alongside future champion Jenson Button. Senna caught the eye of the Team Principal Ross Brawn who bought Honda team later that year and formed championship winning Brawn GP. Unfortunately, Senna didn’t get a place in the team for the 2009 campaign and had to wait for the debut in Formula 1.
After the possibility of getting an F1 ride, Senna decided to keep his form in Le Mans Series. Driving for Oreca Team Matmut, the Brazilian scored two podiums and debuted in 24 Hours of Le Mans, but failed to finish the race.
Throughout the whole year of 2009, Senna was in search for the Formula 1 engagement and finally made an agreement with Adrian Campos’ Hispania Racing team for 2010. In a meantime, he refused an offer from Mercedes to drive in DTM saying that he want to focus completely on his search for the place in Formula 1.
Formula 1 debut with Hispania Racing team
Bruno Senna fulfilled his dream to compete in the most prominent racing series in 2010 but the team couldn’t match his ambitions. Senna drove 18 Formula 1 races that year but couldn’t score a single point. Unfortunately, he managed to complete only the half of the races he has started with 14th place in Korea as his best result. Before the start of the new season, Hispania Racing Team announced that Senna won’t be their driver in 2011 so the Brazilian had to start a new search for the seat.
One season with Lotus Renault F1 team
Luckily, in January of 2011 Senna was hired as a test driver for Lotus Renault F1 team. He had a chance to become a race driver, but the team decided to give a chance to Nick Heidfeld. Bruno was patient waiting for his chance and in the second half of the season, he jumped into the Heidfeld’s seat. He drove in eight Grand Prix and scored two points after he has finished 9th at Monza.That wasn’t good enough to convince team officials to offer him a drive for the next season and Bruno Again had to begin a quest for the driving seat.
Bruno ends F1 career with Williams' team
He was given a contract with Williams, the team for which his uncle Ayrton Senna had been driving when he was killed in a crash at Imola. Even after he did a solid job for the team, finishing in points in the half of the races, at the end of the season Senna again lost his place and was replaced with Valtteri Bottas, a rookie driver from Finland. That proved be the last Bruno’s year in Formula 1 and he was ready for return to endurance racing.
Return to the endurance racing
In 2013, Bruno Senna made a debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Driving for Aston Martin Racing alongside his teammates, Senna had a pretty good season, scoring two wins and four podiums in GT class.
His team took 8th position at the end of the season and missed a chance for better standing after retiring at the late stage of Le Mans 24 Hours. His car had pole position for the most prestigious race in the world while in the moment of the retirement, because of the crash, they were running at third place.
Two seasons in Formula E with Mahindra Racing
The following year Senna drove only two races for Aston Martin Racing in the FIA WEC, but returned to the open wheel racing, signing with Mahindra Racing team which entered a newly formed competition under the FIA’s umbrella – Formula E Championship.
The year was full ups and downs, but Senna had a couple of notable achievements. His best result was 4th place in the last race of the year in London while in the Drivers’ Championship he was 10th.
He stayed with Mahindra for the 2015-2016 Formula E campaign, winning points almost at the regular basis, but also appeared in four races of the expanding Blancpain Endurance Series, driving for Von Ryan Racing after he has signed a contract to become McLaren’s factory driver for their GT3 programme.
Two seasons in the FIA WEC LMP2 class
In 2016, Senna returned full time to the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #43 Ligier JS P2-Nissan for RGR Sport by Morand, sharing a car with Ricardo Gonzalez and Filipe Albuquerque. Scoring two LMP2 wins at Silverstone and Mexico City, they finished second in the final classification of LMP2 drivers.
In 2017, Sena stayed in the FIA WEC LMP2 class but moved to Rebellion Racing. He's sharing the #31 Oreca 07-Gibson with Julien Canal and Nicolas Prost. Senna was again LMP2 winner at Mexico City's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Beginning of the TV career
Out of the track, Bruno Senna debuted as a TV pundit. In 2014, he started to work as a commentator and analyst of Formula 1 races at Sky Sports while before the start of the 2016 F1 season, he moved to Channel 4 where he continued to work as a Formula 1 pundit.