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Senna to replace Heidfeld at Renault for Spa & Monza - updated 25 Aug 2011

Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 25 August 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP R31 Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 29 July 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver and Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP walk the circuit with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 25 August 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP R31 Test Driver. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 29 July 2011 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bruno Senna will make his Formula One race return in Belgium this weekend, replacing Nick Heidfeld to partner Vitaly Petrov at Renault. It will be Senna’s first Grand Prix start since his final appearance for HRT in Abu Dhabi last November.

The 27 year-old is also expected to be in action at the forthcoming Italian event at Monza and could continue to race for the rest of the 2011 season.

“Lotus Renault GP can confirm that Bruno Senna has been nominated to race alongside Vitaly Petrov at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix and at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks later,” Renault explained in a statement released on Thursday.

“The team’s present intention is to give Bruno the opportunity to race for the rest of the season. However, some legal issues have not been fully resolved as yet and, as a result, the team will make another announcement on this matter in due course.”

Senna started his career in British Formula Three in 2005 before moving to GP2 in 2007. By 2008 he was fighting for the GP2 series title, narrowly missing out on winning the championship in the final race to finish runner-up. A move to sports cars in 2009 and a shot at the Le Mans 24 hours led on to a Formula One drive with HRT in 2010.

He completed a full rookie F1 season with the Spanish team before joining Renault as a reserve driver at the start of this year. The Brazilian recently made a Friday practice appearance for the outfit in Hungary.

“I am delighted that Lotus Renault GP has offered me the opportunity to become their race driver,” said Senna. “I’m very motivated to get behind the wheel of the R31. I’ve gained a lot of experience thanks to the time spent with the team this season, and the opportunities I’ve had of driving in Jerez, Duxford and recently in Budapest have whet my appetite to become a successful driver for Lotus Renault GP.

“I am both excited and nervous - it feels like Christmas and my toughest exam have both arrived on the same day! I am really thrilled and motivated to be getting in the car to race in F1 again, especially with such a big team. Getting back to racing is something I’ve been craving for a while, and it’s not often you get an opportunity like this with a team of this stature. I feel I am fully prepared to rise to the challenge, and I would like to thank the team for believing in me. I will not disappoint.”

Renault team principal Eric Boullier added: “We are happy to provide Bruno with the chance to begin racing with Lotus Renault GP, starting at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. He has proved himself to be an attentive member of the team since he joined almost seven months ago, and we are confident that he will demonstrate his ability alongside Vitaly.”

Renault drafted Heidfeld in at the start of their 2011 campaign as stand-in for the injured Robert Kubica. He remains contracted to the team and is taking legal action in a bid to regain his race slot from next month's Singapore round onwards.

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