- Auto Racing - Bernoldi wants to follow in Senna's footsteps

Wednesday, January 31
Bernoldi wants to follow in Senna's footsteps

SAO PAULO -- Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi has joined the Arrows Formula One team but his real dream is to drive for McLaren.

"I'd like to get to McLaren because (Ayrton) Senna was always my idol and that's where he won his championships," the 22-year-old said Wednesday after being named as Arrows' new driver.

Compatriot Senna, who died at Imola in 1994 after moving to Williams, was champion in 1988, 1990 and 1991.

Bernoldi was Sauber's test driver last season and, after missing out on a race seat there, joined Arrows as a surprise replacement for Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa alongside Dutchman Jos Verstappen.

Bernoldi said in a telephone interview from Spain that he had signed the contract on Friday.

"It was all sewn up, but they spread the word that I was going to be a test driver because they wanted to speak to De la Rosa first."

Nicknamed "Baby" by the team, Bernoldi will give Brazil three drivers in Formula One this season alongside Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello and Jaguar's Luciano Burti. Ricardo Zonta, at BAR last year, is the Jordan test driver.

"Now I have to run well, score the points, then win some races and then the championship," declared Bernoldi, confidently mapping out his future plans.

Bernoldi has shown that he can be on the pace in tests in Arrows' new A22 and last season's A21 chassis at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

He has a lot of work ahead of him at a team that finished last season in seventh place with just six points. The season starts in Australia on March 4.

"It's going to be a pretty hard month, but it will be plenty of time to get used to everything as I was a test driver at Sauber," said the Brazilian.

"To see McLaren and Ferrari ... sure, my heart is going to beat faster because it is my dream. But I will try to keep my head together and my feet on the ground."

Bernoldi had tested with Prost before the French team decided to sign Argentine Gaston Mazzacane from Minardi and had then been linked to the struggling Minardi team.

He said Minardi had been an option but felt he had made the better choice with Arrows.

"I could see Minardi wasn't running well," he said.

"It all worked out well in the end as I'm now in a position where I can do bigger things."


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Formula One driver lineups for 2001