Williams have today confirmed that Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado will partner Rubens Barrichello for the 2011 Formula One season.
The 25-year-old, who won the 2010 GP2 championship with a record six successive feature race victories, has a contract with the team for just one season.
Maldonado began his motorsport career in karts at the age of seven, and has been competing in GP2 since 2007. He drove for Williams on all four days of the Abu Dhabi test in November, and has nearly 2,000kms of F1 testing mileage under his belt already. He will drive the new FW33 for the first time at the winter tests in February.
Frank Williams said that he has been looking at Maldonado with interest for a long time, and is looking forward to working with the driver: “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 himself said that he was very pleased to be selected as a Williams driver, and is looking forward to making his F1 debut: “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.”