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Formula 1: Bruno Senna in Pole Position for Williams Drive

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24:  Bruno Senna (R) of Renault and Brazil and Rubens Barrichello (L) of Williams share a joke during the drivers press conference during previews to the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Neil JamesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2012

Bruno Senna has emerged as the clear favourite to claim the second seat at Williams alongside Pastor Maldonado, according to BBC Sport.

The Brazilian appears to have fought off the competition from numerous rivals, in no small part due to a sponsorship package which will bring much-needed income to the team.

But Williams insiders indicated Senna's performances in the latter part of 2011, after he replaced Nick Heidfeld at Renault and qualified seventh in his first outing, also contributed.

If Senna is confirmed, it will leave Williams with one of the most inexperienced driver lineups on the grid, with a combined total of just 45 race starts.  Only Toro Rosso (11) and Force India (38) will field greener combinations.

The available options were reduced with the news Adrian Sutil could be facing a year in prison if assault charges against him over an incident in a Shanghai nightclub in April last year are proven. He could stand trial later this month.

Old hand Rubens Barrichello was thought to be back in the frame following the resignation of Patrick Head from the team's board of directors.  The veteran had reportedly found sponsor backing to compete with his rivals.

However, youth and potential appear to have triumphed over security and experience.

The Senna and Maldonado partnership is certainly a gamble, but with Williams having scored just five points in 2011, perhaps it's not as much of a risk as it may appear. 

Risk implies there is something to lose, and surely it can't get any worse.

Can it?

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