Williams confirm line-up for 2013, Bottas in Senna out
Valtteri Bottas joins Pastor Maldonado at Williams for 2013
Williams have confirmed their 2013 driver line-up, which will see Pastor Maldonado compete in his third successive season with the outfit, however the Venezuelan driver will be joined next season by the team’s 2012 reserve driver Valtteri Bottas. This will see the 2011 GP3 Champion replace Bruno Senna at the team, ending strong speculation.
Speculation linking Valtteri Bottas to Bruno Senna’s seat with the Williams outfit began as far back as the first few races of the 2012 season, when the Finn replaced the Brazilian driver in the Malaysian and Chinese Grands Prix practice sessions on the Friday morning. The team then confirmed that this would take place at fifteen race weekends throughout the year, with Bottas set to replace Senna at each Friday morning practice session.
Pastor Maldonado has unsurprisingly been retained by the Grove-based outfit, with the Venezuelan driver taking an illustrious victory at the Spanish Grand Prix in May and also because of his strong financial backing from Venezuelan petroleum company PDVSA. The 27-year-old is thrilled with the confirmation he will race for the team in 2013, and is hopeful that the season will bring further success to himself and the outfit.
“I’m really enjoying my time with Williams and I was obviously very happy when I was told that I would be continuing with the team in 2013.” Explained Pastor Maldonado, who ended the season with 45 points scored. “2012 was a memorable year for me with the win in Barcelona and we made a big step forward in terms of performance. I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success.’’
Valtteri Bottas will become the ninth Finnish Formula 1 driver in the history of the sport, and will join Kimi Raikkonen on the grid for 2013. It is still unconfirmed whether or not Heikki Kovalainen will make it three Finn’s on the grid next season, as he continues to negotiate with Caterham. 23-year-old Bottas has explained it has always been a life-long dream to compete in Formula 1, and that he is understandably itching to get the 2013 season started.
“It has always been my life-long dream to compete in the Formula One World Championship.” Enthused Valtteri Bottas, who will replace Bruno Senna. “To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special. I’ve really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat. I’m looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams.’’
Bruno Senna’s hopes of finding a drive for 2013 now lies solely with Force India or Caterham, with both outfits still housing vacant seats for next season. Max Chilton has been strongly linked with the vacancy at Marussia, with HRT looking unlikely to even be on the 2013 grid. However, strong competition from the likes of Jaime Alguersuari, Heikki Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov and Paul di Resta amongst others will make clinching a drive at Force India or Caterham exceedingly difficult.
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