MONZA, Italy, Sept 8, 2011 (AFP) - Bruno Senna will go into this weekend's Italian Grand Prix confident of improving on his debut outing with the Renault team at last month's Belgian Grand Prix. The 27-year-old Brazilian nephew of the late legendary triple world champion Ayrton Senna has ousted German Nick Heidfeld from the Renault team and believes having one race under his belt will enable him to make progress at Monza.
He said: "Of course, in Spa, I didn't know what to expect in terms of the competitiveness, but it was extremely encouraging that I managed to develop my pace quickly, and work with the team well. "I have a strong working relationship with the engineers, and I am eager to get into the cockpit because I feel more confident heading into this race. "As with any sport, miles on the clock and experience instil confidence."
Senna has been confirmed as Renault's second driver and as team-mate to Russian Vitaly Petrov for the rest of the year following Heidfeld's decision to accept an out-of-court settlement from the team. Heidfeld was replaced abruptly before the Belgian Grand Prix and claimed that the team had broken the terms of his contract. Senna qualified seventh but made a mistake at the start of the race in Spa and finished 13th. He added: "I know the car much better now. I'm more familiar with the tendencies the car has, and I understand the direction we can take it. "I'm looking forward to working closely with the engineers to devise solutions on where we can strengthen our approach."
Heidfeld said: "Obviously I'm disappointed to leave the team in the middle of the season. "I thought I could still make a big contribution, but I have to see things as they are and I want to turn my attention to the future. "We have taken the right decision by choosing to end our collaboration. "I would like to wish all the friends I made at Enstone a successful end to the season. One thing is for sure -- I'll be back racing at the highest level soon."