Williams has finally confirmed what we suspected all along: newly-crowned GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado will join the team as Rubens Barrichello’s team-mate for the 2011 F1 season.
Maldonado has been extensively linked with the Grove outfit for some months, and recently tested with the outfit in the Young Driver test in Abu Dhabi, also spending two days driving for Hispania Racing during the subsequent two-day Pirelli tyre test.
Maldonado becomes the first Venezuelan to compete in the Formula 1 championship since Johnny Cecotto in 1984, and is rumoured to bring over $15 million in much-needed sponsorship backing from the Venezuelan government and its state-owned petroleum company PDVSA.
“We are very much looking forward to developing his talent over the winter and a fruitful season with him next year,” team boss Sir Frank Williams said in a team statement.
Maldonado romped to the 2010 GP2 championship crown with seven race victories – six of them consecutively.
“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,” said the 25-year-old Maldonado.
[Original image via Williams F1 official site]