Williams F1 today confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will contest the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship for the AT&T Williams team. The appointment finalises the team’s line up for next year following confirmation in November that Rubens Barrichello will remain with the British squad for a further season.
Venezuelan-born Maldonado started his motorsport career in karts at the age of seven, his passion for the sport ignited by a father and uncles who all competed. Having won seven national karting titles, Pastor moved into Formula racing in 2003. With three series championships and 30 wins to his credit, most notably a superlative victory at Monaco in only his debut year in GP2 in 2007, Pastor brings a wealth of experience to the team at only 25 years of age.
Pastor’s promotion into the pinnacle of motorsport follows an impressive 2010 campaign in the GP2 championship in which he was crowned champion and became the only driver to have ever won six successive feature races in a single season. Pastor also comes to the team with nearly 2,000kms of F1 testing mileage in hand having driven all four of the Abu Dhabi test days. Pastor will make his debut in the team’s 2011 race car, the Williams Cosworth FW33, in February’s winter test programme.
On Pastor’s appointment, AT&T Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams, said, “Pastor first caught my eye in 2007 when he drove a masterful race at Monaco. Since then, he has regularly reminded us of his unquestionable talent with some skilful wins, particularly during this year’s GP2 championship, taking an unsurpassed record of six successive victories. Of course, we already know Pastor from the time he spent with the team at the Abu Dhabi test, but we are very much looking forward to developing his talent over the winter and a fruitful season with him next year.”
Pastor commented, “I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. It is a great way to end what has already been an amazing year for me. I tested with the team in Abu Dhabi, but can’t wait to start working with everyone properly to be in the best possible shape going into next year. I will be doing my best over the winter to prepare myself, and I know the team will be working hard to ensure a successful season. 2011 will be the first time in nearly thirty years that a Venezuelan has driven a Formula One car so I will be looking to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today.”