Williams F1 team set to sign new young driver

Williams is set to sign a new protege to mould for a future Formula 1 seat as it did with current race driver Valtteri Bottas

Williams F1 team set to sign new young driver

Bottas had a comprehensive programme of Friday practice drives in 2012 before being promoted to a race seat alongside Pastor Maldonado this season.

Although Williams now has Susie Wolff as a development driver, it has not directly replaced Bottas in the 'number three' role.

Asked in an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT if a plan for a new young driver was in place, deputy team principal Claire Williams replied: "Yes, there is. That's one of the great things about Williams, one of the things that we like to do is to pick up new talent we can bring in.

"Frank [Williams] loves bringing in new drivers and seeing who is out there, and he finds that so exciting.

"We have just put Valtteri in the cockpit so that position is available.

"We are doing some diligence on who is out there and who is well-suited to joining the team."

Formula 3 Euro Series champion Daniel Juncadella ran alongside Wolff at Williams during last month's F1 young driver test at Silverstone.

The Spaniard drives for Williams's 2014 F1 engine partner Mercedes in the DTM at present.

Williams said her team's long-term aim was to establish a larger young driver programme, but that for now it had "a couple of drivers" in mind.

"We would like to do a proper young driver programme in the future but that's always about budget and we have got to make sure that the budget is in place and secure for the F1 team before we start looking at doing a comprehensive young driver programme like the likes of Lotus or Red Bull," she said.

"We'd like to have a couple of drivers we can look at and there will be a couple of announcements about that soon."

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