Williams prays Pastor will stay
FUTURE AT WILLIAMS: Toto Wolff, executive director at Williams, has praised Pastor Maldonado (above) and wants him to stay for the 2013 season.
LONDON - Williams wants penalty-prone Pastor Maldonado to stay with the team for 2013 but Bruno Senna's future with the Formula 1 team is less certain, according to influential shareholder and executive director Toto Wolff.
The Austrian, increasingly cast as the eventual successor to team principal and founder Frank Williams, told the official F1 website ahead of Sunday's Singapore GP that a decision on drivers for 2013 was still some way off.
NO DECISIONS YET
"We're taking different looks at the issue but the minute we discuss it we are going to mess up Pastor and Bruno - and maybe others we try talking to," Wolff said when asked whether Williams would stick with the same line-up. I would give it another month before we are going to have the first idea of what we want."
Williams has highly rated Finnish youngster Valtteri Bottas as a test and reserve driver. He also has management links to Wolff and would be a well-placed internal candidate to step up to a race seat. He's driven in several Friday morning practice sessions this season.
Venezuelan Maldonado brings substantial sponsorship with him from his country's state oil company PDVSA and had a lights-to-flag victory in Spain earlier in 2012, former champions Williams' first triumph since 2004. However he's also been involved in a series of incidents which led to a number of grid penalties and cost the team points.
Wolff, who works closely with Frank Williams and took on the role of executive director in July, made it clear he expected Maldonado to stay and lead the team further up the grid.
"In 2013 we will have a carry-over of the car so I'd like to see us in the points more regularly," he explained. "I hope Pastor stays with us and has learned his lesson - the next logical step would be the top six in the Constructors' - or even top five."
Wolff said Maldonado had a "huge raw talent", was extremely fast and intelligent; a driver who realised he needed to take a different approach.
"Maybe Pastor has to change the way he is driving and he has accepted that. We'll take it from there. I'm sure we will see many more successful races from him.”
His comments on Brazilian Senna, nephew of triple champion Ayrton who died in a Williams in 1994, were less effusive. "Bruno is very intelligent and very sensitive and that means he is putting a lot of pressure on himself. Whether it is the name or not, I don't know.”
"Every racing driver in F1 is very competitive and Bruno is trying to fight the fact that he hasn't had a huge racing education - the family didn't want him to go racing but he has made his way into F1, which means he is good.
"He has an extremely fast team mate and he needs to follow his path. He is pushing very hard and we are trying to support him as best we can."
Williams is eighth in the 12-team championship, nine points behind Force India. Maldonado has scored 29 points to Senna's 25.