Williams confirms Maldonado for 2012, with Bottas staying on as a reserve

The Williams team has confirmed Pastor Maldonado will enter his second season in Formula 1 with the team next year

Williams confirms Maldonado for 2012, with Bottas staying on as a reserve

The Venezuelan made his debut with the Grove-based squad in 2011 and was expected to continue with the team, in a move that was confirmed by Williams on Thursday evening.

"I am delighted to be able to continue with Williams into my second season and I will give my very best to help the team as we push to return to the front of the grid," he said. "This has been a tough season for the whole team but it has given me personally the opportunity to learn and develop.

"I am convinced that the steps we have taken to improve our competitiveness will bear fruit in 2012 and beyond. I am thrilled to be part of that and also to represent the people of Venezuela in Formula 1."

Team boss Frank Williams added: "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. 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."

The team also confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will stay on as a reserve driver, while there was no news on who will partner Maldonado in 2012.

Finn Bottas will drive in 15 Friday practice sessions during the upcoming season.

"I would like to thank Frank Williams and the whole team for the investment that everyone at Williams has made to help me over the past two years," said Bottas.

"The opportunity now to continue this unique development with the position of Reserve Driver will enable me to gain essential experience as part of the race team in 2012.

"In this position, I will do my utmost to help the team to set up for a great race weekend and also look forward to playing a role off the track with the team at the factory and with our partners."

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