Senna out, Bottas in at Williams
WILLIAMS' RACE IS ONE: Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas will replace Bruno Senna at the team for the 2013 season, it was announced.
Author: Martyn Herman
LONDON - Finland's Valtteri Bottas attempted to lower expectation levels after being named as the replacement for Bruno Senna on the Williams Formula 1 team for 2013.
Bottas, a test driver for Williams since 2010, will join Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado next season after the British team announced its drivers for 2013 on Wednesday (Nov 27 2012.
'THANKS FOR PRESSURE'
Williams team principal Frank Williams described Bottas, 23, in a team statement as "quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across". He expected "great things" from him in the future.
Bottas, however, said he might show his capabilities by the second half of the 2013 season. He said in a conference call: "I had a little factory talk with Frank and I said to him 'thanks for the pressure'. Being successful in the future is my own goal and I want to compete against the best in the world and one day be 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 or better him it would be really nice - but I have a lot to learn."
Though a rookie, Bottas is no stranger to Williams. He's had the use of Senna's car on Fridays at most of 2012's races. He's aprotege of McLaren's double World champion Mika Hakkinen, has been groomed by Williams since 2010 and his lap times during practice sessions have turned heads.
"I've been in most of the Friday sessions. That gave me a chance to prove what I could do in the car," Bottas said. "I'm really happy the team gave me the opportunity."
Accident-prone Maldonado was rewarded for winning 2012's Spanish GP, the team's first victory since 2004, with a third year at the team.
Frank Williams said in a statement: "In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing. I'm especially excited about what 2013 can bring for Williams.
"Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and 2012 has seen him mature as a racing driver. Valtteri is one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him."
Bottas was even being linked to McLaren as a possible replacement for departing 2008 World champion Lewis Hamilton. "It's been my life-long dream to compete in the F1 World championship," he said. "To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special."