Date: 17th January 2012 at 2:14pm
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Bruno Senna has been confirmed as a Williams driver for the 2012 season.

The news confirmed the reports that had been made by the BBC over the past week and ends the hopes of veteran Rubens Barrichello who wanted to remain with the team to celebrate a 20th year in Formula One.

The 39-year-old Brazilian driver who has 322 starts in the sport since his debut at the 1993 South African Grand Prix was quick to congratulate his compatriot via Twitter ‘twitter friends..I won’t be driving the Williams car this year.I wish my friend @BSenna all the best..the future is wide open’.

28-year-old Bruno joins the team after impressing towards the end of last season in a poor Renault [now Lotus]. He was dropped from the team when opted to to move forward with 2007 Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Senna was immediately linked with a move to the Williams Team, but had strong competition for the drive, not only from Barrichello, but also former Force India driver Adrian Sutil who had been the favourite for the seat since the end of last season.

Both Barrichello and Sutil would have brought more experience to the team both in the set-up of the car and consistent performances on the track, but Senna brings added sponsorship revenue thanks to simply being the nephew of three-time world champion Ayrton Senna and of course, raw potential.

Senna was a late starter in the world of motorsport not making his single-seater debut until the age of 20 in the Asian Formula Renault Challenge, Formula BMW UK and British Formula Three.

Within a year he was winning races in Formula Three and he later moved into the GP2 Series and then onto Formula One with HRT in 2010 and Renault towards the end of 2011.

The move to the Williams team is by far the biggest boost to his career to-date.

?I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. The team has a great heritage and I hope I can help write a good chapter in their history. The evaluation process has been intense and methodical but the time I have spent in the factory has demonstrated that the team has great people and all the resources needed to achieve better things this season. he told formula1.com.

?It will be very interesting to drive for a team that my uncle has driven for, particularly as quite a few of the people here actually worked with Ayrton. Hopefully we can bring back some memories and create some great new ones too. I also want to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today. I am very proud to be Brazilian and more motivated than ever to demonstrate what I can do. Ever since I first sat in a go-kart I never wanted to do anything else.?

Williams team principal Frank Williams added: ?The circumstances of Bruno?s two seasons in Formula One have not given him an ideal opportunity to deliver consistently so it was essential that we spent as much time with him as possible to understand and evaluate him as a driver. We have done this both on track and in our simulator and he has proven quick, technically insightful and above all capable of learning and applying his learning quickly and consistently. Now we are looking forward to seeing that talent in our race car.?

Senna will be partnering Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado at the team, who has kept his seat despite a poor 2011. Many in the paddock believe the very valuable sponsorship package from the Venezuelan government state-owned PDVSA oil company influenced that decision.

 

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