The Williams’ driver lineup for 2012 is a hot topic at the moment. Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado is assumed to have secured a seat because of the substantial PDVSA sponsorship he brings to the team. However, there is much speculation about who will drive the other car. There have been reports linking many drivers to the second seat, such as 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, Rubens Barrichello, Adrian Sutil as well as young driver Valtteri Bottas.
Nevertheless, the decision on the matter is near, according to Williams co-owner Toto Wolff in an interview with German website Motorsport-Total.com.
“We know that we must make a decision in the next seven days even if it is difficult for us”, he said. The deadline is self-imposed because, as he admitted, “one has to properly deal with the people involved, so they also know where they are.”
British F1 journalist Joe Saward as well as the respected German magazine Auto, Motor und Sport have reported that Raikkonen is asking for equity in the team as part of the deal for 2012. However, Wolff categorically denies it.
“That has never been discussed,” he said.
When asked about the performance of GP3 champion and Williams test driver, Valtteri Bottas, during the recent Young Driver Tests in Abu Dhabi, Wolff was effusive with praise.
“Valtteri Bottas has corroborated what we expected from him. I consider him to be a driver that will drive for victories in the future, and he has confirmed it. He did not make any mistakes and had a good speed,” said Wolff.