Bruno Senna’s time at Hispania seems to be over, with team boss Colin Kolles confirming that the Brazilian won’t contest this weekend’s British Grand Prix for the team. Less than 24-hours before the cars hit the track for first practice the Spanish squad have announced that their test driver, Sakon Yamamoto, will race at Silverstone in Bruno’s place.
Rumours were flying about in the Valencia paddock that Karun Chandhok was set for the chop, the Indian racer having supposedly run out of funding. As it turns out it’s Senna who has seemingly got the boot, 9 races in to what has been a trying season for Hispania and their drivers.
And now it will be Yamamoto, who has been on Hispania’s books as a test driver since April, who has a crack at driving F1’s slowest car. The Japanese racer, who is known to have a decent sponsorship kitty, was rumoured from the start to be looking to graduate to a race seat with the team. No confirmation yet on whether he’s in for the rest of the season, with Kolles staying tight lipped today, though it seems unlikely that Senna’s absence will be for one race only- not that you can ever be certain in this business.
Hispania’s financial woes have long been known, with the team changing owners over the winter and struggling to make the grid. That they have taken on a better funded driver than Senna is no real surprise.
This isn’t the first time Yamamoto has joined a back of the grid F1 team mid-season. In 2006 he drove for Super Aguri from the German Grand Prix onwards, and a year later joined Spyker at the Hungarian race, both times remaining in the seat until the end of the championship. In total he’s competed in 14 grand prix, with a best finish of 12th at his home race in 2007.
And another thing- and we assume this is a coincidence- tomorrow is Sakon’s 28th birthday. As birthday presents go this one ain’t bad.
One man who won’t be celebrating though is Bruno Senna, who after missing out on an F1 drive for 2009 then sweating over the financial security of his team last winter might well find himself out in the cold again after less than half a season. So just where does this leave Bruno? How are we all feeling about the return of Sakon Yamamoto to Formula One? Let us know in the comments section below.