Maldonado happy to keep Barrichello as teammate

As Williams considers its options, Pastor Maldonado has revealed he is happy to race at the British team alongside Rubens Barrichello.

With his millions in Venezuelan backing, the 2011 rookie’s race seat is considered safe for 2012. But the same it not true of Brazilian veteran Barrichello, as Williams admits talks with Kimi Raikkonen and reportedly also eyes Force India’s experienced and sponsor-backed Adrian Sutil.

“The season might not have been great but I believe, at Williams, we have one of the best driver pairings in F1,” Maldonado told The National. “Unfortunately, the car is not competitive but, to have Rubens as a teammate, for me, is great because he has helped me with everything.”

“He’s an incredibly talented driver and is still so incredibly motivated. He’s helped me to improve my time and technique out there.”

Williams, likely to finish the 2011 championship ahead only of F1’s small new-in-2010 teams, has had arguably the worst ever season in its decades of history. It is therefore easy to point the finger at someone like Maldonado, who despite winning last year’s GP2 championship is seen by many as a typical ‘pay-driver’.

“I feel after winning the GP2 championship and the way I did it, I think I deserved my place in F1, that I was ready,” he insists. “And Williams are not a team that just sign up drivers for money.

“When you come here, you expect to win here. That’s what I want to do and that’s the aim for the team. I want to stay here and to win.”


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