My hope is that a) Kubica makes a full and rapid recovery, and b) that in the meantime it’s Bruno Senna.
Not quick Nick Heidfeld, who is also in the frame and was tested alongside Senna last week at Jerez. Heidfeld, in my humble opinion, would not be as exciting a prospect as the late, great Ayrton’s nephew.
Why, you might ask, should a relative unknown like Bruno Senna be given a race seat in such a prestigious team, apart from the obvious marketing appeal that lies behind his surname? Because according to his manager, Chris Goodwin, who I spent some time with recently driving the new McLaren across Europe, Bruno Senna is very much the real deal.
As a means of underlining his boy’s potential, Goodwin reminded me of a test that took place at the beginning of 2009, when the Brawn team was still in its embryonic stages. The venue was Barcelona, the aim to discover how quick the car was and to decide whether it had a future or not. With both Jenson Button and Bruno Senna at the wheel. At that time Rubens Barrichello had yet to be signed, so this was truly a high-pressure moment in which Goodwin’s driver would either shine or shrink.
He drove the car for just one session apparently, whereas Jenson drove it several times throughout the day. Yet both of them set pretty much identical times. Bruno Senna, in other words, was as quick as Jenson Button – in a car and on a circuit that Button knew far better than he.
In the end, and because Ross Brawn wanted experience behind the wheel and not youth, Barrichello ended up in the car instead. For Bruno Senna it was one of those close but no cigar moments that happens in life. Which is why I hope he gets his chance with Renault. And then delivers on his promise. In spades.