Bottas Joins Maldonado With Williams

The Williams F1 Team will switch to Mercedes power beginning next year. (Steve Etherington Photo)
Pastor Maldonado held off all challengers to earn his first Formula One triumph in Barcelona earlier this year. He will return to Williams next season. (Steve Etherington Photo)

Williams has announced that Finnish test driver Valtteri Bottas will be promoted to a race seat for 2013, partnering Pastor Maldonado, who has been retained for a third season.

Bottas, with Williams since 2010, replaces Bruno Senna in the team’s line-up.

“It has always been my lifelong dream to compete in the Formula One world championship,” said Bottas, 23. “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.”

In his role as Williams reserve driver Bottas has taken part in a number of this season’s Friday practice sessions, impressing the team with his pace and maturity from the outset. The GP3 champion in 2011, 2013 will see him compete in a Grand Prix for the first time.

The renewal of Maldonado’s contract comes on the back of a successful 2012 campaign that saw the Venezuelan win the Spanish Grand Prix in commanding style and go on to finish 15th in the final driver standings.

“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,” said Maldonado. “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.”