Lotus Renault’s Eric Boullier has high praise for newly appointed Bruno Senna. Senna made his 2011 race debut replacing the beleaguered Nick Hiedfeld—or should I say the much maligned—and the young Brazilian did a very nice job of it except for the first corner. I was reading with interest over at AUTOSPORT that Boullier said:
“His obvious weakness was the limited track time since January, so he needs more time to get his confidence back in exploiting the car,” he said.
“His strength was his quietness and building up his speed, and working very well with the engineers. You could sense he felt at ease with the engineers and the environment, and he just took it step by step.
“It was also hard for him. With the late confirmation it was not the ideal scenario, and obviously the weather conditions at the first of the weekend were tough – especially on a very challenging track.
“The next races will be challenging for him, especially in Monza with no downforce, which makes the car difficult to drive. But definitely his confidence is back to the maximum – so I am sure he can do it.”
What is the important issue for Boullier though? The team morale and this, if anything else, is the reason I can understand their decision to oust Heidfeld. If the team isn’t happy, not litigation of contract talk will make them get behind a driver they have written off. It seems Senna has replaced the exuberance:
“I was more than happy to see all my people in the garage applauding at the end of Q2 and Q3 with a smile on their face,” said Boullier. “It was the first time that had happened since Malaysia.
“It is important to have your people, who work all day and all night, be happy. This is for me very important; this is the way I can get the best out of our guys.”
It all blue sky and birds over at Lotus Renault with Gerard Lopez, of team owner Genii Capital, glowing about Senna as well. Fair enough, there is a lot to be excited about with Bruno Senna. I must caution fans that the same was being said of Nick when he debuted. I recall many articles and interviews where Boullier said he was a great leader from day one when he got to the team, he had good pace and was fitting in nicely as the team were excited to secure his services.
I am genuinely excited for the team and the move to replace Nick if this is what they needed. I do hope the new face and direction will reinvigorate the team and move them forward because I like the folks there and think they’ve done a very good job given the last 24 months they’ve had. They need a shot in the arm and Senna may be it so let’s hope this works out wonderfully.
Sure, Nick hadn’t “developed” as the team had hoped but I do wish Senna the best because I am not convinced the team has right-sized their expectations. Lopez seems to equate investment dollars spent as a right to be on pace and Toyota should have taught them that this is not always the case.