Williams admit they have driver choice dilemma for 2013

Susie Soddart with Williams drivers Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senn and reserve Valterri BottasAug.24 (GMM) Williams executive director Toto Wolff has admitted that the Grove based team is facing a dilemma over its driver lineup for the 2013 season.

The British team’s shareholder, now with an increased, hands-on role within the squad, told Brazil’s Totalrace that he would “rather have three cars” to accommodate Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna and reserve driver Valtteri Bottas on the grid next season.

Finn Bottas, who is managed by Austrian Wolff, is hotly tipped to replace Brazilian Senna in 2013.

“Valtteri has been doing free practice but racing is something completely different,” Wolff is quoted as saying.

“He is a great talent and we want to keep him, but there is also an economic side,” he said, undoubtedly referring to the reportedly EUR 30-plus million and EUR 10 million brought to Williams by Maldonado and Senna respectively.

Money aside, Wolff said Barcelona winner Maldonado, and Senna, also bring “speed and intelligence” to Williams.

“I would rather have three cars next year,” he smiled.

Wolff defended Senna, who has had a difficult 2012 but finished a strong seventh in Hungary last month.

“I am impressed with Bruno,” he said.

“He is not only an intelligent and sensitive driver, he also learns quickly. Our concern is to support him in the best way possible, knowing that he has lacked some practice on the Fridays.

“He has had good moments and days when things have not worked, but in Hungary everything worked very well and I hope it was the beginning of many good weekends from now on,” said Wolff.

Subbed by AJN.

  • McLaren Fan

    Maldonado is the weak link

  • Disgusted with 2012

    The problem with pay drivers, is they end up owning the team, giving them more power than they deserve when they fail to perform. Neither of their current drivers is a great choice, beyond feeding the needed cash into the system for operations. It’s a bad deal all around.

  • Stewy33

    They could always pull a Toro Rosso and axe both current drivers! Bottas gets a ride and maybe a driver like Heikki Kovalainen or Adrian Sutil can get the 2nd seat. Just one mans Opinion.

  • Hawk

    C’mon
    You can’t have your cake and eat it. It’s because of Pastor (& Senna’s) millis that Williams is where it is. Last year with the likes of Rubens they were no where. They couldn’t afford a thing. Now Pastor gives them the Renault engine and they bounce back. Now sponsors can pick interest which will make Williams independent that they could afford to dump Pastor. So who’s riding on whose back? Maybe next time Pastor and Chavez should take a venture capitalist approach, buy a stake in the team to make it PDVSA Williams…LOL. In a nutshell, pay drivers are a necessary evil in today’s economic times. Sponsors are a rarity.

  • SP7

    It’s a tough choice. Bottas is fast but untried and untested. Maldonado has money, has won a race but is ridiculously clumsy. Senna is becoming more quicker and consistent but needs a stable platform to develop, he cannot keep jumping teams. If all drivers did not provide sponsors, the decision is easy. Boot Maldonado. He has cost the team too many points.
    If Senna continues to improve this year then I would be inclined to keep him. Where does that leave Bottas? “Perhaps a Button-esque” loan to another team, whereby in a year or two Williams have the option of taking him back. Although Bottas hasn’t raced yet, he is still a flying Finn. – SP7

  • psych4191

    The most logical choice is Senna – Bottas

    The most likely choice is Maldonado – Bottas.

    The Stupid choice is Maldonado – Senna.

    Bottas is a type of driver that doesn’t come around often. He’s along the lines of Raikkonen and Hakkinen. If Williams doesn’t lock him up, he’ll be in McLaren by 2014. You all know how they love their flying finns. Losing a talent like that by sheer greed would kill this team in the long run.

  • JuniorJohnson

    Maldolonso is probably one of my favorite driver of all times past and future!
    He is taking a bad car and winning with it and that to me is mildly amazing!
    People should not not like him because of where he came from.
    Where he is going is what is more important!
    What a quick guy like that Williams must keep him!
    Even other drivers not just his friends think he is the most completed driver of all!

  • Michel

    Junior – are you smoking your socks?

  • McLaren Fan

    @JuniorJohnson,
    Either you are drunk, stoned or smashed out of your brains or you have Pastor Maldonado mixed up with another driver.
    Maldonardo has been nothing but controversial since he got in a car, he has caused more crashes than the crossover on a Scalextric track.
    The man is a menace. Yes he has flashes of speed but he also has mental blackouts when it comes to thinking.