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      11-28-2012, 10:59 AM   #441
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Senna out, Maldonado and Bottas for 2013

Maldonado and Bottas confirmed for Williams

Williams has confirmed Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas will be its drivers for the 2013 Formula One season.

The news had been expected for some time, with Bottas stepping up from the reserve driver role to race driver and taking the place of Bruno Senna.

''In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing and I am especially excited about what 2013 can bring for Williams," team principal Sir Frank Williams said. "Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and this year has seen him mature as a racing driver. Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our departing driver Bruno Senna for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best of luck going forward.''

Maldonado continues at the team for a third consecutive year and is hoping to build on his first victory at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this season

''I'm really enjoying my time with Williams and I was obviously very happy when I was told that I would be continuing with the team in 2013. 2012 was a memorable year for me with the win in Barcelona and we made a big step forward in terms of performance. I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success.''

Bottas has driven in 15 free practice sessions for Williams this year and was the GP3 champion in 2011.

''It has always been my life-long dream to compete in the Formula One World Championship. To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special. I've really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat. I'm looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams.''

Senna saw Bottas announcement coming

Bruno Senna said he was not surprised to find out he will be replaced by Valtteri Bottas at Williams next year, but insists he has no hard feelings towards the team and will announce his plans for 2013 soon.

On Wednesday Williams confirmed Bottas will join Pastor Maldonado at the team next year, leaving Senna to look elsewhere for a drive. But in a statement on his website, Senna said he had been anticipating the news since the start of the year.

"Since the beginning of my program with Williams I accepted that I had to share the car with Valtteri Bottas in 15 Fridays as a part of his preparation for a likely debut in 2013", he said.

Looking back on his season, Senna said he was proud he scored points at 10 of this year's 20 races.

"It has been extremely satisfying to be the team's most regular point scorer and for me to demonstrate my pace in all 20 races. I have learned a lot and improved considerably through the season. I have had a relatively short career so far and feel as though I have come a long way in just a few years.

"I had some notable achievements this year, such as the fastest lap in the Belgian GP, my favourite track, scoring points on a regular basis and making up many, many places through the races. Regularly racing in the top ten has certainly been a step forward in my still relatively short career and has allowed me to further sharpen up my race craft. Working with a competitive and supportive engineering team like Williams has left me well prepared for the next step in my career."

And he also thanked team boss Sir Frank Williams for giving him the opportunity to race a full season.

"I would like to thank the whole team and particularly Frank for giving me the chance of completing my first full season in F1. It has been extremely rewarding to develop the Williams FW34 into a consistently competitive race car and cracking the challenge of the Pirelli tyres has been just one of the satisfying points."