Maldonado Replaces Hulkenberg at Williams
Williams F1 have confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will replace Nico Hulkenberg, and drive alongside Rubens Barrichello the 2011 season. The GP2 champion comes to the team with nearly 2,000kms of F1 testing mileage in hand after taking part in all four of the Abu Dhabi test days last month, and will make his debut in the team’s 2011 race car, the Williams Cosworth FW33, in February’s winter test programme. Pastor’s promotion into the pinnacle of motorsport follows an impressive 2010 campaign in the GP2 championship in which he was crowned champion and became the only driver to have ever won six successive feature races in a single season. Speaking about the latest addition to the team, AT&T Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams, said, “Pastor first caught my eye in 2007 when he drove a masterful race at Monaco. Since then, he has regularly reminded us of his unquestionable talent with some skilful wins, particularly during this year’s GP2 championship, taking an unsurpassed record of six successive victories. Of course, we already know Pastor from the time he spent with the team at the Abu Dhabi test, but we are very much looking forward to developing his talent over the winter and a fruitful season with him next year.” Pastor added, “I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. It is a great way to end what has already been an amazing year for me. I tested with the team in Abu Dhabi, but can’t wait to start working with everyone properly to be in the best possible shape going into next year. I will be doing my best over the winter to prepare myself, and I know the team will be working hard to ensure a successful season. 2011 will be the first time in nearly thirty years that a Venezuelan has driven a Formula One car so I will be looking to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today.” It is reported that the 25 year old Venezuelan-born driver is expected to bring around 10m euros in sponsorship to the team. Maldonado's confirmation at Williams now means there are nine seats remaining across five teams for next season. As Force India are yet to confirm if Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi will keep their seats in 2011. Plus, both Virgin Racing and Hispania have also yet to name either driver while Toro Rosso are in a similar position. Renault are also yet to reveal whether Russian Vitaly Petrov will continue as Robert Kubica's team-mate.