Bruno Senna Won't Be at Honda Next Year: A Good Thing for Him and for F1

Tom HinesCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2009

So, Bruno Senna is heading for the DTM with Mercedes and won't be racing a Formula 1 car next season.

There'll be no Senninho on the grid, no dewy-eyed laments from journos around the world about the Senna name returning to F1 and no enormous and unfair weight of expectation with which to batter a promising young sportsman or with which to embarrass a sport still in need of integrity.

Honda's (or Brawn Racing, call them what you will) decision to stick with Frasier look-alike Rubens Barrichello and the listless but perfectly stubbled Ray-Ban mannequin Jenson Button is good for F1 and good for Bruno.

With the swashbuckling Hamilton winning his first world championship at just 23, some of the most radical technical remoulding in recent years and the likes of Kubica, Vettel, BMW and Red Bull snapping at the heels of the establishment, F1 is genuinely unpredictable again, and on the verge of becoming a meritocracy!

To hand a race seat to a man who has only been racing for four years but happens to have the surname Senna would only have distracted from the real stories that will be played out this season of shifting powerbases and an emerging generation of excellent racers.

Senna would have failed to make an impact at Honda this season, just as Button and Barrichello will with a scratch car that has benefited from no on-track winter testing.

It does not necessarily have anything to do with driver talent; the car just won't be ready or competitive.

And to the casual observer who has heard the inevitable hype there would have been about Senna returning, his failure would have been more evidence with which to charge F1 with that age-old criticism of nepotism and elitism.

It's also good news for Senna. Barrichello only has one or two seasons left before rheumatism starts interfering with his paddle shift, and in that time, Ross Brawn will have a chance to make a real impact on the team.

It is a fair assumption that if all goes as planned up at Brackley, the car and team will be in even better shape this time next season, and that time Senna will have another year of very competitive racing under his balaclava.

If he does have the talent for F1, it will only be better honed by a year in the DTM, and racing with the manufacturer that is supplying Brawn's outfit with engines leaves the door to F1 gaping open for next year.

We've seen it in other sports where the likes of Michelle Wie or Theo Wallcott have had too much expected of them too soon and it damages their development.

So for the sake of the sport and the sake of a driver who is a thoroughly nice guy and nephew of a great, I'm glad that Bruno is being forced to play the long game. Good luck to him.