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Senna, Grosjean confirmed as Renault third drivers 31 Jan 2011

Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP. Formula One Testing, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Monday 31 January 2011. (L to R): Jan Charouz (CZE) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver; Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver; Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver; Ho-Ping Tung (CHN) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Monday 31 January 2011.

Bruno Senna will remain part of the Formula One paddock in 2011 after he was confirmed as Renault third driver for the coming season on Monday. The news came as Renault took the wraps of their new car, the R31, at the Valencia circuit in Spain.

There had been fears the Senna name would disappear from the grid after the 27-year-old Brazilian, nephew of the late Ayrton Senna, lost his drive with the fledgling HRT team at the end of last season.

“It’s a great moment for me,” said Senna. “I’ve been trying to get into a good Formula One programme for a couple of years so it feels great to be joining such an established team. I’m proud of this achievement and thankful for the opportunity that I’ve been given."

Senna came into Formula One last season, having been away from single-seaters for a year after finishing runner-up to Giorgio Pantano in the 2008 GP2 Series. He endured a difficult rookie F1 campaign, failing to score a point in HRT’s under-developed F110.

“This year will be all about integrating myself with the team and extracting the most I can from being in such a competitive environment,” he added. “Being part of this project will give me so much valuable experience and it’s down to me to make the most of it. I hope that I can develop myself and prove to the team that I should be given an opportunity for the future.”

Joining Senna as fellow Renault third driver will be another F1 returnee, Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman, who has a long-term relationship with Renault, raced for the team back in 2009, stepping into the seat vacated by Nelson Piquet Junior, but was dropped at the end of that season.

“Returning to Enstone felt just like coming home,” commented Grosjean. “It brought back a lot of happy memories because I know the place so well and I have a lot of friends there. It’s also special because this is a new beginning for the team and everybody is really motivated and excited about the year ahead.”

Grosjean won last year’s Auto GP series, competing in various other championships including GP2 and FIA GT. This year he will combine his Renault testing duties with a full-time GP2 race drive.

Renault's reserve drivers (and members of the team's young driver academy) were also confirmed as Jan Charouz, Ho-Pin Tung and Fairuz Fauzy (who was unable to attend the R31 launch due to his GP2 Series commitments).

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