Williams confirm Maldonado for 2012

2012 F1 season

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.”

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97 comments on Williams confirm Maldonado for 2012

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  1. Alfie Widger said on 1st December 2011, 22:17

    *cough* Money *cough*

  2. celeste (@celeste) said on 1st December 2011, 22:17

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

  3. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 1st December 2011, 22:18

    Fair enough!

    Sutil to join him do we think?

  4. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 1st December 2011, 22:18

    RIP Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

  5. PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 1st December 2011, 22:22

    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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st December 2011, 22:42


      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.

      • Toby Bushby (@toby-bushby) said on 2nd December 2011, 3:14

        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….

      • “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.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 2nd December 2011, 13:26

        I hope so! Please Rubens, remain!

      • Fernando Cruz said on 21st December 2011, 12:21

        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. newnhamlea1 (@newnhamlea1) said on 1st December 2011, 22:24

    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. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 1st December 2011, 22:24

    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?)

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 1st December 2011, 22:32

      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.

      • tflb1 (@) said on 1st December 2011, 22:48

        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.

        • Hairs (@hairs) said on 2nd December 2011, 12:18

          @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.

          • tflb1 (@) said on 2nd December 2011, 20:14

            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.

    • infy (@infy) said on 1st December 2011, 22:33


      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.

    • Slr (@slr) said on 1st December 2011, 22:37

      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.

      • tflb1 (@) said on 1st December 2011, 22:49

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

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st December 2011, 22:58

        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.

        • snowman (@snowman) said on 1st December 2011, 23:40

          @ 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!

          • gabal (@gabal) said on 2nd December 2011, 12:43

            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…

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 1st December 2011, 22:38

      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.

    • michaeldobson13 (@michaeldobson13) said on 1st December 2011, 22:40

      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. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 1st December 2011, 22:26

    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. Slr (@slr) said on 1st December 2011, 22:30

    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.

    • snowman (@snowman) said on 1st December 2011, 23:45

      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. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st December 2011, 22:33

    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.

    • Max Inga (@) said on 2nd December 2011, 0:30

      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.

    • George (@george) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:27

      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.

    • Grammo (@grammo) said on 4th December 2011, 20:49

      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. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 1st December 2011, 22:35

    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?

  12. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 1st December 2011, 22:36

    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. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 1st December 2011, 22:36

    “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…

    • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 1st December 2011, 22:55

      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.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 1st December 2011, 22:58

      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.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 2nd December 2011, 0:35

      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. charles (@charles) said on 1st December 2011, 22:41

    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. tflb1 (@) said on 1st December 2011, 22:41

    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.

    • tflb1 (@) said on 1st December 2011, 22:44

      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.

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