Maldonado confirmed at Williams for 2012

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado has retained his place at AT&T Williams for the 2012 Formula One season.

Maldonado made his debutin F1 this year with Williams, producing some impressive qualifying, but could only manage one points finish (10th at the Belgian Grand Prix).

It has not yet been confirmed who will partner Maldonado in the second seat, with current team-mate Rubens Barrichello yet to sign a deal for 2012.

German Adrian Sutil has been linked to the seat alongside Maldonado.

Team principal Frank Williams says that the Venezuelan driver is an important part of the team’s rebuilding phase.

“Pastor has proven this year that he is not only quick but also that he is able to maintain a consistent and strong race pace,” Williams said.

“Pastor has been responsible for all of our forays into Q3 in 2011 and his race at Monaco was outstanding.  Pastor has also settled into the team at Williams very well, contributing strongly in the factory and with our partners. He will play a critical role in 2012 as we rebuild the team and move forward.”

Maldonadofinished 19th in the world title.

Williams also announced the promotion of Valtteri Bottas in its organisation to reserve driver.

Bottas, the reigning GP3 Champion, drove for Williams in the recent F1 young drivers test at Abu Dhabi.

Williams says that the second seat will be given to a more experienced driver, but committed to giving Bottas a significant amount of time behind the wheel of his team’s cars.

“We have a very specific approach to young driver development, working with one highly talented individual over a period of years,” he said.

“Valtteri has proved a very capable and rounded young man of fierce determination. As the team’s Reserve Driver, we anticipate that Valtteri will participate in a Friday practice session at 15 Grands Prix next year, most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend. We will announce the identity of that driver in due course.”

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