One of the nine available seats in Formula One for the 2012 season has been taken, with the Williams team confirming that Pastor Maldonado will stay with the team.
The Williams team who switch to Renault engines next year, also confirmed Valtteri Bottas will continue his role as reserve driver.
There was however no news on who will be the Venezuelan’s team-mate, with Rubens Barrichello expected to leave. Force India’s Adrian Sutil has been linked with a switch to Williams, if Force India decide that his services are no longer required.
‘I am delighted to be able to continue with Williams into my second season and I will give my very best to help the team as we push to return to the front of the grid, This has been a tough season for the whole team but it has given me personally the opportunity to learn and develop. Maldonado told Autosport Magazine.
‘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 1.’
Williams Team Boss Frank Williams added: ‘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.’
26-year-old Maldonado made his F1 debut in Australia earlier this year and scored one World Championship point during his debut season.
He failed to finish seven times and finished 19th in the Drivers championship. But what he lacks in experience he makes up for in terms of sponsorship.
Maldonado reportedly brings big backing to the Williams team through sponsorship from the Venezuelan government who own the PDVSA oil company.