The Williams F1 Team has confirmed that Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas will be the team’s race drivers for the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season. Although Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix this year, with an impressive drive, he scored in only a handful of races and it is widely felt in F1 circles that if it were not for his considerable financial backing from Venezuela he would not be keeping the drive, as the car did not score anything like the number of points that it should have done, given its potential. The signing of Bottas is the team’s acceptance that while it is possible to survive with pay-drivers, the team needs more complete drivers in order to collect better results. This will lead to more prize money and will attract more sponsorship, and will take the team back to where it should be in the F1 pecking order. This year’s eight place is a step up from last year’s miserable ninth, but Williams should really be two or three places higher, gievn its record and its facilities.
The team will not say any of this out loud.
The decision is a little tough on Senna, who has not done a bad jog this year. He scored in twice as many races as Maldonado and achieved that without having the benefit of running on Friday mornings, which he believed was a serious disadvantage. It should be added that Bruno is still learning after two scrappy years and will probably be a much better driver in 2013. Sadly the choice was based on money and the word is that Bruno is now in negotiation with Force India and with Caterham.
One thing that is very clear is that Williams rates Bottas very highly.
“Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future,” said Sir Frank Williams.
Theteam has yet to name a test and reserve driver but if it follows its normal course of action, it will be a job that goes to an up-and-coming talent, rather than someone with some cash.