12-02-2010, 04:21 PM
Drives: It Like He Stole It
Join Date: Jul 2007
Pastor Maldonado to drive for Williams in 2011
Williams have confirmed that GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado will partner Rubens Barrichello during the 2011 Formula One season.
The 25-year-old Venezuelan had been heavily linked with the Grove outfit after he got plenty of miles under his belt for the team at the Abu Dhabi young driver tests following the season-ending Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit.
Maldonado will fill the seat left vacant by the departure of Nico Hulkenberg from the team, with the German's strong late-season form not proving enough to secure a new deal.
Maldonado showcased the consistency to go with his undoubted pace during 2010, becoming the only driver in the short history of GP2 to win six feature races in a row.
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."
Maldonado's confirmation means there are now nine seats remaining across five teams for next season.
Hulkenberg is expected to end up at Force India, who have yet to confirm either driver for next year, with one of Adrian Sutil or Vitantonio Liuzzi to make way.
Two of the new teams for 2010, Virgin Racing and Hispania, have also yet to name either driver while Toro Rosso are in a similar position.
The other available seat is at Renault, who have yet to reveal Robert Kubica's team-mate.
Maldonado will become the first Venezuelan to race in Formula One since Johnny Cecotto in 1984, and he is delighted to be linking up with a team that has a total of 16 world championship titles to its name.
He said: "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.
"Next year will be the first time in nearly 30 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."