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Formula 1: Is Bruno Senna in Decline at Renault?

YEONGAM-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 14:  Bruno Senna of Brazil and Renault prepares to drive during practice for the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 14, 2011 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIOctober 16, 2011

If there is anyone involved with Renault who could feel smug after today's showing it's out of favour German driver Nick Heidfeld

After scoring the same amount of points as his resurgent team mate Vitaly Petrov, he was hustled out of the drive for the unproven Bruno Senna.

Renault felt disappointed that Heidfeld had not taken the role of lead driver from Robert Kubica and lead the team to consistently strong results. 

Renault could be forgiven for taking the risk on the basis that Senna was not afforded a strong car during his debut season at Hispania. 

Maybe he just needed a stronger car to show his mettle, and as a test driver he was showing promise.

But here we are, four races into his Renault drive, and after today surely many will heap a great deal of criticism on the initial decision. Hindsight can indeed be a wondrous thing. 

Renault have gone backwards, with Petrov losing form and Senna not performing to expectation. Whether this expectation is too high for anyone in the shadow of the sorely missed Kubica is another question entirely. 

Petrov was in a great position to pick up a handful of points today. It would have further strengthened his grip on an overall top 10 finish. 

Yet, whilst battling with Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, the two broke late and Petrov flew into an unfortunate Michael Schumacher, whose Mercedes was subsequently unable to continue.

Bruno Senna left without much of a trace. Midfield scraps with the likes of Team Lotus and Williams highlighted the massive gap between the two Renault drivers. Possibly it further enhanced the idea that Senna is falling backwards since his solitary points finish in Monza.

Indeed it has been, and will continue to be, a difficult transition for the young Brazilian. There is always the philosophy that to give someone capable the time to succeed is to give yourself the opportunity of results. 

Sadly though, he had no pace in qualifying and did little to subvert this in the race. Therefore he now has three races to prove that he is worthy of a seat at Renault, or in fact at any team within Formula 1. 

When you consider that Robert Kubica may return and gift the team their No. 1 driver back, Bruno's chances look slim. 

Could it just be that the offer of a stronger drive has put in motion the end of Senna's career, and in doing so make Nick Heidfeld's drive look like a lost opportunity? Neither are lead drivers, but you can't help but feel that the latter would have achieved more.  

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