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Pastor Maldonado replaces Nico Hulkenberg at Williams

Pastor Maldonado
Maldonado was with Williams at Young Driver Testing in Abu Dhabi recently

Williams have announced that GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado will replace Nico Hulkenberg for the 2011 season alongside Rubens Barrichello.

Maldonado is the second Venezuelan to drive in Formula 1 after Johnny Cecotto, who raced between 1983-84.

The 25-year-old is expected to bring around 10m euros in sponsorship.

"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," Maldonado said.

"I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers," he added. "It is a great way to end what has already been an amazing year for me."

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Maldonado - who this year become the only driver in the short history of GP2 to win six feature races in a row - got plenty of miles under his belt for the team at the Abu Dhabi young driver tests recently, which followed the season-ending Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit.

"Pastor first caught my eye in 2007 when he drove a masterful race at Monaco," said team principal Frank Williams.

"Since then, he has regularly reminded us of his unquestionable talent with some skilful wins, particularly during the 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."

Williams re-signed Barrichello at the end of the season and the 38-year-old Brazilian will have a rookie team-mate for the second season in a row.

Hulkenberg was released by the team despite taking the team's first pole in five years at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old German has been linked with a role as a third driver with Mercedes but has stated his goal is to find a race seat.

Maldonado's confirmation means there are now nine seats remaining across five teams for next season.

Force India are yet to confirm whether Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi will keep their seats in 2011 while two of the new teams for 2010 - Virgin Racing and Hispania - have also yet to name either driver while Toro Rosso are in a similar position.

The other available seat is at Renault, who have yet to reveal whether Russian Vitaly Petrov will continue as Robert Kubica's team-mate.



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see also
Red Bull youngster sets test pace
16 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Barrichello to stay at Williams
15 Nov 10 |  Formula 1


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