Bottas to join Maldonado at Williams

Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:53am EST
 

LONDON (Reuters) - Finland's Valtteri Bottas attempted to lower expectation levels after being named as the replacement for Bruno Senna in the Williams Formula One team next season.

Bottas, a test driver for Williams since 2010, will join Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado next season after the British team announced their driver line-up for 2013 on Wednesday.

Williams team principal Frank Williams described the 23-year-old Bottas as "quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across" in a team statement, saying he expected "great things" from him in the future.

However, Bottas said it might be the second half of next season when he starts to show what he is capable of.

"I had a little factory talk with Frank and I said to him "thanks for the pressure", Bottas said in a conference call.

"Being successful in the future is my own goal and I want to compete against the best in the world and one day be the world champion.

"Pastor is going to be a really strong team mate. It's his third season in the Williams car. If in the second part of the season I can match him or better him it would be really nice but I have a lot to learn."

While he will be a rookie, Bottas will be no stranger to the Williams set-up, having been given the use of Senna's car on Fridays at most of this season's races.

A protege of McLaren's double world champion Mika Hakkinen, he has been groomed by Williams over the past two years and his lap times during practise sessions have turned heads.   Continued...

 
Williams Formula One test driver Valtteri Bottas (L) of Finland prepares for an official F1 test session at the Mugello race track in central Italy May 1, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi