Bruno Senna follows in uncle Ayrton's footsteps at Williams

    Bruno Senna will drive for Williams in the 2012 Formula One season.

    Story highlights

    • Bruno Senna joins Formula One constructor Williams for the 2012 season
    • Senna is nephew of three-time world champion Ayrton, who died 18 years ago
    • Ayrton was driving for Williams when he was killed in San Marino in 1994
    • Bruno will partner Pastor Maldonado when new Formula One season begins
    Bruno Senna has signed for Formula One constructor Williams 18 years after his uncle, former three-time world champion Ayrton, died driving for the team.
    The Brazilian will partner Pastor Maldonado when the 2012 F1 season gets underway in Australia on March 18, replacing veteran compatriot Rubens Barrichello.
    Bruno's uncle Ayrton is one of the greatest drivers the sport has seen, winning drivers' championship crowns in 1988, 1990 and 1991 before he died in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. It was only his third race for Williams.
    Williams' cars have carried his name ever since the tragedy at the Imola racing circuit, and Bruno, who made his debut for HRT in 2010, says he is excited to follow in his uncle's footsteps.
    "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," the 28-year-old told Williams' website.
    "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."
    Team principal Frank Williams, who was in charge of Williams when Ayrton Senna died, said he was looking forward to seeing Bruno compete at the highest level.
    The driver struggled with HRT in the team's debut season, then moved to Renault as a reserve driver before replacing Nick Heidfeld for the final eight races of 2011, but scored points in just one of his eight races as he finished ninth at the Italian Grand Prix.
    "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," he said.
    "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's deal with Williams could spell the end of Barrichello's Formula One career as the 39-year-old is now without a team with the new season two months away.
    He said on his official Twitter account: "I won't be driving the Williams car this year. I wish my friend @BSenna all the best..the future is wide open."
    HRT is the only team with a seat available, having yet to confirm a race partner for Pedro de la Rosa.