Williams F1 has confirmed that it has signed Brazilian Bruno Senna for the 2012 Formula 1 season. He will drive alongside Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado. This brings to a close months of speculation about the second seat at Williams, and about Senna’s future in Formula 1.
Senna drove for HRT in 2010 and for Renault (now Lotus) in the second half of 2011, but has not had the chance of a full season in an experienced and successful team. With Williams, he now has that chance.
Senna’s contract with Williams means that Rubens Barrichello is without a drive for 2012.
All of the established teams have now decided their driver line-ups. The only remaining option is with backmarkers HRT, who have yet to confirm who will partner Pedro de la Rosa. For Barrichello, who has won 11 races and finished second in the Drivers’ Championship twice for Ferrari, HRT would be a significant step back. Perhaps it is time for him to consider a move out of the F1 cockpit.
Barrichello has been a constant presence in the paddock since his debut in 1993, and has always been competitive. With 322 race starts he is by far the most experienced driver in F1 history, and by all accounts he is a much liked and respected member of the Formula 1 community. If he does decide to hang up his helmet, it will be a sad day for Formula 1.