Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Interlagos, 2011

Williams confirm Maldonado for 2012

2012 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Interlagos, 2011
Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Interlagos, 2011

Pastor Maldonado will continue to drive for Williams in 2012, the team has confirmed.

Frank Williams said: “Pastor has proven this year that he is not only quick but also that he is able to maintain a consistent and strong race pace.

“Pastor has been responsible for all of our forays into Q3 in 2011 and his race at Monaco was outstanding. Pastor has also settled into the team at Williams very well, contributing strongly in the factory and with our partners.

“He will play a critical role in 2012 as we rebuild the team and move forward.”

Maldonado said: “This has been a tough season for the whole team but it has given me personally the opportunity to learn and develop.

“I am convinced that the steps we have taken to improve our competitiveness will bear fruit in 2012 and beyond. I am thrilled to be part of that and also to represent the people of Venezuela in Formula One.”

Valtteri Bottas, who drove for the team during the young drivers’ test, has also been announced as the team’s reserve driver for next season.

Williams said: “Valtteri has proved a very capable and rounded young man of fierce determination. As the team?s reserve driver, we anticipate that Valtteri will participate in a Friday practice session at 15 Grands Prix next year, most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend.”

See the updated list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams.

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Image ?? Williams/LAT

97 comments on “Williams confirm Maldonado for 2012”

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  1. *cough* Money *cough*

    1. Although he’s not a bad driver (2010 GP2 Champion), i’m sure the decision was purely financial.

      1. Maldonado’s in a good company. Alonso is a pay driver as well.

        1. Really????

          1. @celeste yes, really. He brings backing from Santander, and a lot of that money went to Raikkonen.

          2. It’s funny when people cant’/dont’/won’t distinguish between drivers with talent/reputation/results who bring money, and people who just bring money

      2. It only took him 4 years and 8 million to get the GP2 title.

  2. There is only one thing that comes to my mind after this news: Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!

    1. mauricio barraza
      8th March 2012, 1:48

      look guys i think alonso is the
      best and will always be the best

  3. Fair enough!

    Sutil to join him do we think?

    1. Sutil or maybe Van Der Garde. Hopefully Sutil.

    2. I kinda get the impression that it could be Rubens.

      1. I hope not. Would much rather see Sutil or someone under the age of 40 take that 2nd Williams seat

        1. Why under 40?

          Some sort of moral age limit I’m not aware of?

  4. RIP Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

    1. @Magnificent-geoffrey TBH I think that happened when they lost BMW.

    2. sad but its quite difficult to see a bright future for them.

      They’ve been struggling since 2004, and that’s a lot. Good enough they are still around and trying hard.

    3. I disagree, they had a design that just didn’t work this year, like renault. last year they were best of the midfield and finished 4th just a few years ago. I know its a long way from their heyday, but they are surviving quite well i think. I would wait to see how the new management goes before judging them.

    4. you mean, cut out the life support to let nature take its way and end the teams misery?

      I am probably one of those pledging to still give it some time to see if there’s a spark or racing life left in the team (not much hope though)!

  5. Well, I suppose Rubens still has a chance. I’m now torn on who I want to see in that Williams seat – Barrichello or Senna. Unlikely that Senna will get the Lotus drive – will be Petrov or Grosjean. Bit of a dilemma for me now, as I like Rubens and I think Bruno is a bit underrated and hasn’t shown his potential yet.

    1. @pielighter

      Well, I suppose Rubens still has a chance.

      It’s probably more of a chance now that Raikkonen has gone to Renault and Vijay Mallya has implied he might keep Adrian Sutil.

      I don’t think Bruno Senna will race for Williams. He hasn’t done anything to deserve a seat this year.

      1. Rubens definitely has a chance, but so do many others. Frank Williams also said “….most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend.” when speaking about Bottas in Practice sessions for 2011. With Liuzzi, Sutil, Hulkenberg, Senna (maybe), both Toro Rosso drivers and even D’Ambrosio (not as experienced perhaps, but has plenty of money and a good full season behind him), Williams have plenty of options apart from Barrichello, and the time to sort through them. Maybe Ricciardo could even slot in….

      2. “He hasn’t done anything to deserve a seat this year.”

        You mean the guy that stuck it in 7th in his 1st qualifying, at the same time as having shed loads less seat time than the drivers around him, while at the same time Renault stopping development on his car?

        It’s rediculous whats expected of drivers whove never driven one of these cars, coming in half way through a season in a car that is falling backwards regardless of whose in the seat.

      3. I hope so! Please Rubens, remain!

      4. Senna really deserves to be in F1 in 2012. He never had the opportunity to do an entire season with a decent car and that would make all the difference. In an entire season he would be in equal terms with other drivers and would surely do much better than he did entering only in the 12th GP. Even so he did amazingly well at Spa, beating Alonso in qualifying with a Renault that was no match for the Ferrari. In Monza he was the 4th fastest in the race, just 0,3s. slower than Vettel’ s best lap in the race. In Suzuka he was 9th in Q3 with very little track time in morning free practice. In Interlagos he even managed to beat Vettel’ s time in the first sector of his last lap in Q2. This after beating the likes of Schumacher and di Resta with a Renault that was not really as good as the Mercedes and the Force India.

        Bruno Senna showed his speed and just needs time to improve, particularly his consistency and racecraft. He just needs more experience to proove himself one of the really good F1 racing drivers.

  6. Dont think this is all bad news, at least they are only going for one pay driver, and maldonado isnt that bad, looks like they will probably bring in Sutil who brings big money from medion and a few other sponsors. There are also rumours floating about linking them to a large manufacturer for 2014.

  7. Why are people annoyed at this? He’s been a very respectable rookie this year, I don’t think he falls into the stereotype of ‘Pay Drivers’ that many people have. He might carry a lot of sponsorship with him, but he’s had some good moments this year, and fully deserves a 2nd year.

    Anyway, who’s the alternative? A GP3 driver? Considering Williams’ current position, that’s far too risky, I think they’ll try and go for the same drivers as last year, meaning Barrichello and Maldonado.

    Hopefully Sutil can keep his FI drive, shame about Hulkenburg (sp?)

    1. He hasn’t been as awful as, say, not to harp on about it too much, Grosjean, but I wouldn’t have called him “respectable” this year. His driving’s been average, but his behaviour in Spa with Lewis was disgraceful, and his arrogan “this is formula 1” interview with the BBC guys afterwards was disgusting.

      He should have been black flagged and banned from the following race for that stunt, and there’s very few drivers you can say that about. Certainly none of the other rookies.

      1. Grosjean wasn’t that bad, with no testing he was closer to Alonso than Massa is. The closeness of the field in 2009 obscured what a good job he did.

        Regarding the Maldonado-Hamilton incident, if one was black flagged then both should have been, because it was six of one, half a dozen of the other in my opinion.

        1. @tflb1 Lewis was hasty through a corner in a qualifying session. Maldonado carefully, deliberately, and callously swiped sideways into another driver with the sole intention of putting him off the track, or into danger, when there was no justifiable need or reason to.

          Lewis was greedy. Maldonado allowed his temper to control him, and behaved like a road rage bully in a white van. Dangerous. Not only to the other driver, but more importantly for the marshals or spectators if either car had been launched.

          1. I’m sorry, but Hamilton swerved towards Maldonado too. Also, you could argue, by his greediness he was endangering Maldonado. He actually made contact with him at the last chicane. Bear in mind that Maldonado was on a qualifying lap, and had no obligation to get out of the way.

    2. Agreed.

      People tend to hate him for his accidents and fighting spirit. He’s shown himself to be a good, quick driver. He has also shown that he is not easily bullied by the better drivers (a trait shared by the real Senna).

      Unfortunately these days skill means less than your camera personality.

    3. The fact he replaced Hulkenberg I think is also a reason for some. Though I think that’s unjustified, yes Hulkenberg didn’t deserve to lose his seat based on his performance, however the fan’s frustrations should have be vented out on Williams. Maldonado wasn’t exactly going to turn down the opportunity to race in Formula One for a highly respected team.

      1. And also Maldonado was much closer to Barrichello than Hulkenberg ever was…

      2. The fact he replaced Hulkenberg I think is also a reason for some.

        Hulkenberg had it coming. Williams asked for sponsorship, but he found none. Of all the rookies in 2010, he had the best chance of actually finding a sponsor, and yet he was the only one who did not (Kamui Kobayashi was signed to Sauber without any need to find sponsors). I seem to recall reading somewhere that Hulkenberg refused to find sponsors and instead seemed to think that he would get a drive on talent alone. Maybe he would be good enough for that, but simply assuming that he would after one year (when more than half the grid – even established drivers – bring sponsorship) was incredibly arrogant.

        1. @ Prisoner Monkeys

          I think Hulkenberg not getting sponsorship was more his manager Willi Webber’ fault who refused it saying Hulk was to good to be termed a pay driver.

          Hulkenberg has since fired Webber!

          1. Actually, return of Michael Schumacher is what torpedoed Hulkenberg’s chances. When you look at GP2 his main sponsors were all ex-Schumacher sponsors (Dekra, Deutche Vermogensberatung…) so when they chose who to sponsor in F1 they decided for a 7-time world champion instead of a rookie…

    4. It’s because there’s too many unforced errors on track, like simply spinning and crashing. He had a couple of really good quali sessions earlier in the year, and I was growing to like him, but his race pace is really poor and inconsistent. There’s potential, hopefully we’ll see it next year. Plus his first year was in a bad car I suppose.

    5. When you compare Maldonado to Barricello, he’s done quite well. No-one realises this because the Williams is too slow this year. He deserves a chance in a better car, which hopefully the Williams will be next year.

  8. Wont be Rubens

    Was begging for a drive in Brazil and if he was staying he would have been announced with $$ Maldonado $$

    I think Suitil has it and will be announced when force india hurry up and announce there seats have Hulk and Paul

  9. I think Maldonado did a decent job this year, and he matched up against Barrichello fairly well. I think he’s done enough to earn more time to prove himself.

    1. Agree especially when you consider how the highly rated Hulkenberg stacked up against Rubens the year before. Its a pity the whole slur of bringing vast amounts of money to the team is linked so much to him.

  10. I’m going to jump on the pro-Maldonado bandwagon for a moment here. Yes, he’s scrappy. Yes, he needs to calm down from time to time and think about what he is doing in the heat of the moment. But if you look at some of his results, he’s been remarkably solid in a car that was dismal at best. He out-qualified Rubens Barrichello nine times (and qualified only a position behind him on more than one occasion), and out-raced him five times. That’s not bad for a rookie driver in his first season after racing in a GP2 championship where there was a vaccuum in the talent (because six drivers were promoted to Formula 1 in 2010). He arguably had a better first season than Vitaly Petrov did in 2010, and we’ve seen how Petrov turned things around this year. I see no reason why Pastor Maldonado cannot do the same.

    1. +1
      plus it never helped that we were constantly reminded that he had the worst season in formula 1 for a Williams driver ever in their history. It is by far the worst car they have ever made what did you expect from a rookie ?
      he did a decent job enough to get a drive next year.

      1. Technically, he scored one more point than Nakajima in 2009, but admittedly Kazuki would have had 5 points that year on the current points system.

    2. I agree PM, he was disliked even before the season started, then he had a couple of incidents with Hamilton, so it’s hardly surprising he’s so widely derided.

      I cant say I wouldn’t rather see some other drivers on the grid (Grosjean and Di Grassi for a start), but if Williams want to keep him I have no problem with that.

    3. I remember a comment from Valentino Rossi that gave me laugh.
      Back around 2003 when the Italians were cleaning up in motor sports. He was asked what his thoughts were on the current success.
      He said “Now if Schumacher just had a personality everything would be great”

      Well… :)

  11. I still think Rubens will get the call back to Williams. They need a senior driver suffice to say “a leader” to go thy winning ways

    Since this year turns out to be the year of announcements, I just want to throw this out there – Will Chris Dyer get the call from Merc to be Schumi’s race engineer?

    1. I’m guessing not. Previous rumors linked Dyer to McLaren.

  12. I think he did well. Nothing spectacular but it’s difficult to shine with that kind of car. He did better than Rubens at times, so that’s a good thing I guess.

    I don’t think the whole decision was made with money only in mind. He isn’t a bad bet if you want monetary support AND a competent driver. After all, he did better than Petrov did last year.

  13. “Valtteri has proved a very capable and rounded young man of fierce determination. As the team’s reserve driver, we anticipate that Valtteri will participate in a Friday practice session at 15 Grands Prix next year, most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend.”

    There are like a million ways to interprete this…

    1. Hehe, a classic Frank Williams statement. I do like his use of “most likely”…leaves it nicely poised for Bottas to get a race or two if one of the race drivers doesn’t perform.

      I hope he gets a whole season of GP2 as well next season.

      1. That was my thought as well. It certainly doesn’t close the door to the possibility.

    2. Well, since he’s participated in 0 GPs, it only means that a non-rookie will take the second seat. It’ll probably be Barrichello or Sutil, now.

    3. I’m quietly pleased to hear that Bottas will be Williams’ reserve driver next year. Although it would have been exciting to have a third Finn in the sport, I’m happy to wait until he’s fully ready. It sounds like the team expect big things of him in the future, and as pointed out, they seem to be leaving the door ajar, if not fully open, to him racing at some point next year.

      It’s clear Williams are waiting for Force India (and possibly Renault) to make their moves first.

  14. The only reason that he is still in the team is because of all the money he can bring to Williams. In the old days, up to a couple of years ago, frank Williams one the greatest and the most ruthless of all team bosses taking no sh*t from anyone, would have fired his ass after he’s bad performances if not for the unsportsmanlike behavour after trying to take out Hamilton in spa!
    He is taking up a race seat for someone better including Barrichello

  15. I think this is the right decision. I’ll probably be criticised for saying this, but I feel he did a fine job for a rookie and was better than Barrichello. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many vitriolic comments directed against one single driver. Some of the things people write about him are wholly unjustified. I mean, I have seen some people on other sites saying that he ranks with Yuji Ide, Jean-Denis Deletraz and the like as one of the worst F1 drivers in history. I think people are letting a 50/50 incident of mutual hotheadedness between Hamilton and Maldonado in Spa cloud their judgement.

    1. And something I forgot to add:

      There seems to be some form of moral objection among certain people that any driver bringing money doesn’t deserve to be there. He won GP2 and performed admirably in his first F1 season. By some people’s comments you’d think he was a Plamen Kralev – style middle-aged businessman with no talent for driving cars who’d just bought himself a place.

  16. Jonathan_Byron
    1st December 2011, 22:42

    When Williams won his last championship?

    In 1997 with Jacques Villeneuve.Since then nothing has to contract more second options
    Where are the Prost Mansell Piquet and I think that this policy will be another 15 years without winning

    Williams Grand Prix Engineering = Chavez Racing Sport.

    1. I don’t understand the criticism of Williams for accepting money from Venezuela. Venezuela is not, and never has been, included in the Axis of Evil. Nor is it a part of the “Outposts of Tyranny”, the list of the most-despotic and oppressive countries in the world. Although it ranks lowly on the Corruption Perception Index, Venezuela is no more corrupt than the rest of South America. And while there are human rights issues in the country, Venezuela is hardly a black hole of human rights the way countries like Zimbabwe are.

      I’m a little hard-pressed to find an answer to this. Why do people criticise Williams for accepting money from Hugo Chavez, but do not criticise Renault or accepting money from Vladimir Putin? Putin is a former KGB agent, who has been accused to arranging the arrest, trial and improsionment of political opponents like Mikhail Khodorkovsky and over a hundred journalists have died under suspicious circumstances while investigating allegations of criminal activity in federal security agencies. And yet, it is perfectly acceptable for Renault to accept Russian rubles, but it is not okay for Williams to take Venezeulan bolivares. Once again, it’s a double-standard among Formula 1 fans who want the sport to be ethical, but only end up being hypocritical.

      The only reason for this anomaly (that I can think of) is that Hugo Chavez is a socialist and he does not particularly like America. However, he controls Venezuela, and Venezuela has massive oil reserves. The American media therefore lump him into the same category as they do Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: an unstable despot who threatens the American way of life. Vladimir Putin and Russia, on the other hand, work with America, and so he does not get such a hard time from the press. And Formula 1 fans take to this like clotted cream.

      Hugo Chavez is not evil. There are issues in Venezuela that need to be addressed, but as near as I can tell, he’s not a bad person. But I see other fans ignore this, because if they attack Chavez, they discredit Pastor Maldonado. If they discredit Maldonado, they hope that Williams might drop him. And if Williams drop Maldonado, then the fans hope that someone “more worthy” will wind up in the seat. Ironically enough, the people who do this are using the same bully-boy tactics that they claim to be outraged by when somebody else does it. But then, I guess it’s not a crime when you’re the one committing it.

      1. You’re right, I also think the whole thing is “sell” to people because Americans look at him like “the devil”. They labell him as a dictator when in reality he was elected in a democratic manner.

        He’s not god, he’s no evil. He’s no different to other politician that wants more power as days go by, but so what if he’s supporting his driver (taking the whole affair about the legality of the support in Venezuelan’s law)? Fangio was supported by the argentinean goverment and YPF and no one said anything.

        There are worse issues in F1 to start bickering about all this.

      2. Maybe Venezuela is not in the “Circle of Evil”, but its people is not free, and even if you don´t agree with that, why a “president” will choose to pay for an F1 drive when 27% of his people is poor and 7% is extremly poor…

        The congres is right to question the reason why that much money is being pay to an enterprise with out having any ROI to his country and its people…

        1. @celeste – You could say many of those things about several countries involved in Formula 1 in some way: Russia, Turkey, Malaysia, China and so on. Yet nobody does say it.

          1. Not the same, at least as far as I know, Rusia, China, Turkey, etc are not paying for a driver… they are paying for a race (at least I think that thats what you mean)… when a country or a goverment pays for a race they spect that it will gain in turism, publicity… a driver gets nothing to a country…

          2. Not the same, at least as far as I know, Rusia, China, Turkey, etc are not paying for a driver…

            Where do you think Vitaly Petrov’s money comes from?

      3. Sorry to burst your bubble but Hugo Chavez is evil, I live in South America in Colombia to be precise, and Chavez has systematically support our guerrillas that since the 80s have not been more than a group of kidnappers and drug traffickers. He has been one of the main reasons those groups were growing strong till a few years ago when our military could kill some of the important leaders. He has changed agendas a few times and now we can say he has become a bit less of a threat to the region, but make no mistake is not because he doesnt want it, he has seen he cant do it. You said tyranny ? He has supported Libia and Syria since he become president, he has gifted tons of oil to Ghadaffi and visited him and say they were great friends (, a threat to the “free world” ? you bet, he has also supported, financed and hided Iran initiatives to build nuclear weapons for the last 10 years, if you don’t believe just read about the Iranian banks that mysteriously have opened offices in Venezuela, google it (dont worry here it is, while you are at it check how many venezuelan ships have been found with illegal cargo like weapons and parts to create the infamous centrifuges for uranium enrichment in different canals and docks around the world ( Don’t forget the thousands of tons of food his government has imported over the years just to get the comission and have been found rotten in the docks of his country cause they weren’t supposed to be for the people, (don’t believe me ? I usually read posts here, but when somebody posts things like the ones you have posted I have to communicate what I know so the people that came to this site and don;t know about the subjects (like you) face a bit of reality once in a while

        1. Sorry about the links and the grammar, Links corrected:

          – His friends:
          – The weapons smuggle:
          – Banks:
          – Food wasted:

          1. every single country in the world has its “issues” I called it Humanity thats their issue the lack of it.

        2. That’s a very compelling case … but again, I have to ask: why does everybody only complain about Chavez? Let’s take a look at Vladimir Putin’s track record, shall we?

          – He’s a former KGB officer.
          – Hundreds of journalists have died under suspicious crcumstances while investigating allegations of criminal activity within Russian security agencies.
          – Russia has one of the lowest ratings for freedom of the press ratings in the world, and is perhaps the second-worst (after China) of all the developed nations on earth.
          – Putin stands accused of having political opponents arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges to prevent them from running against him in elections.
          – Chechnya is a source of constant problems for Russia; in fact, the entire Caucasus region is a powderkeg.
          – Putin is believed to be backing Alexandr Lukashenko (President of Belarus and widely-accused of being a tyrant) in exchange for Russian control over the Yamal-Europe natural gas pipeline feeding Europe.
          – Russia has one of the highest rates of corruption in the world.
          – The Russians were suspected of selling medium-range ballistic missiles to Iran in violation of a UN embargo (it was never proven when the vessel believed to be carrying the missiles – the MV Arctic Sea – was found floating adrift off Africa, supposedly after a pirate attack … in a region of the world where there are no known pirates; Russia was accused of staging the entire thing to prevent the missiles from getting to Iran without losing face when the Israeli Mossad found out about the sale).

          So tell me: why is it such a crime for Frank Williams to accept money from Hugo Chavez … when it is not a crime for Eric Boullier to accept money from Vladimir Putin?

          1. @Ukfan I don´t think you will support any politician that had has Chavez the background for ruling your country or being “advise” your goverment….

            If Petrov is taking money from Puttin I really didn´t knew, sorry for my ignorance, but I can´t be pro a team thats is willing to take money from Chavez… Sadly I don´t live close enough to know all of the circunstance that surrounding Puttin-Petrov, but I had seem first hand what Chavez has done and how has hurt other countries, like mine… So I´m gonna agree with what @Macca77_ wrote, what Chavez had done to his country, and how much damage he is doing supporting extremist groups in another Latin America´s countries don´t allow me to be impartial.

  17. That oil money is more of à burden than à blessing for Maldonado.

    Even if hè Does well, you can’t help but think about that money.

    1. true, at least, in my case it is. though succes does help forget about the money.

      I just really hope they stick to Rubens as well.

    2. @verstappen not really, look at Perez he is also a paid driver but since his results have been decent, nobody mention it…

  18. Boo. I was hoping Sutil would get in, with Senna loaned out by Renault to Williams to square with them keeping Petrov with Kimi (if not, Senna to Lotus and Grosjean to Williams). Not going to happen now.

    For me there were too many negatives surrounding Pastor’s entry into F1. A pay driver who won GP2 in his fourth year after everyone who’d beaten him had already left, he didn’t do much in the first half of the year (though not mediocre per se) besides a good drive at Monaco, there was the incident in Spa which he received a light penalty for (imagine if it had happened in India, after Wheldon’s and Simoncelli’s deaths…) and though he has got the upper hand over Rubens recently, I don’t rate Rubens.

    It’s not that Pastor doesn’t deserve a second chance, just that there was more promising talent I would rather have had there (and Sutil, who’s had his chance at Force India but still has something to prove I think, certainly more than Barrichello). I’m not sure if money was behind this as Patrick Head said at the start of the year that the sponsorship wasn’t contingent on keeping Maldonado (unless he fibbed), perhaps Williams didn’t want a third year of having to get a rookie up to speed? Especially if Barrichello is on the way out.

  19. Something interesting in that statement:

    ‘we anticipate that Valtteri will participate in a Friday practice session at 15 Grands Prix next year, most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend’

    This seems to me to suggest that Williams are at least considering letting Bottas drive in a few full GPs next year.

  20. I’m not a big Maldonado fan. I haven’t been majorly impressed by his road to F1, and he hasn’t made a huge impact in his first season. He did perform well at Spa and at Monaco though, two tracks which require driver skill more than anything. He also out-qualified Rubens on multiple occasions, no easy feat.

    I’m not surprised by this news, I think he fully deserves another season. I always give a driver at least a season and a half before judging on their potential, and I have a feeling he might just do well next season. He showed some proper promise in 2011 and some qualities that you would expect from a top-end driver.

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