Renault encouraged by Senna debut

Brussels: Renault are backing Bruno Senna to score points after the Brazilian`s roller-coaster debut for the Formula One team in Belgium at the weekend.

Senna, nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton, qualified an impressive seventh at Spa-Francorchamps but then made a mess of the start and was handed a drive-through penalty for causing a first corner collision.

He ended up in 13th place at the finish while Russian team mate Vitaly Petrov was ninth.

"It`s mixed feelings...but he did a solid race, good pace, consistent enough," Renault F1 team principal Eric Boullier said.

"He needs to improve on this but a good race. If he can deliver like he did this weekend in every race I think he will be good enough to bring points home."

Senna raced for struggling HRT last season but has not been on the starting grid in November and recognised he had got his braking distances wrong with the car on a full fuel load.

He apologised afterwards to Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, the Toro Rosso driver he ploughed into and dumped out of the race.

"Obviously I would have liked to have finished higher, considering my grid position, but I`ve now got a good pace to build on and take me through to Monza (next week`s Italian Grand Prix)," said Senna.

Boullier was willing to give the Brazilian, who is yet to be confirmed beyond Monza, time.

"He tested a couple of times but he didn`t race since November, so he needed this weekend and race to get back on track and up to speed," he said.

"The outcome of the weekend is frustrating...but I think the car is fast enough to maybe fight with Mercedes, which is good. Both drivers, if they don`t make any mistakes or silly things, they can be there."

Lotus-backed Renault are fifth in the championship, 30 points behind Mercedes.

Bureau Report