No Williams driver decision yet
Williams chief Toto Wolff says it is still "too early" to say whether the team will retain the same driver line-up for 2013 - but is hoping for Pastor Maldonado stay.
Last Updated: 19/09/12 4:40pm
Williams' Executive Director Toto Wolff says it is still "too early" to say whether the team will retain the same driver line-up for next season - but has indicated he hopes Pastor Maldonado stays on for 2013.
The Grove-based line-up drafted in Bruno Senna to partner Maldonado for this season, but despite a big step forward by the team in performance terms over 2011, both drivers have failed to consistently capitalise on the FW34's speed with the former struggling in qualifying and the latter being involved in a series of incidents since winning the Spanish GP in May.
With Valtteri Bottas continuing to impress in his role as the team's Friday driver, and team owner Frank Williams a known admirer of the young Finn, there have been suggestions that one of more of Senna and Maldonado could make way for 2013, despite both bringing financial backing to the team - and considerably so in the Venezuelan's case.
Senna's position is thought to be in most jeopardy and Wolff, who has taken on an increasing influential role at Williams in recent months, although not denying that the team are considering other options, suggested a decision couldn't be expected until mid-October at the earliest.
"It's too early," he said in an interview with the official F1 website.
"Sure, we are taking different looks at the issue, but the minute we discuss it we are going to mess-up Pastor and Bruno - and maybe others that we try talking to - so I would give it another month before we are going to have the first idea of what we want."
Wolff admitted that the team "don't want to drag it out too long" and dropped a hint that Maldonado, despite picking up a spate of controversial penalties this season, would be retained as the team look to make a bigger step forward in the standings next time round.
"In 2013 we will have a carry-over of the car so I'd like to see us in the points more regularly," he said.
"Pastor hopefully stays with us and has learned his lessons - so the next logical step would be the top six in the constructors' - or even top five," he said.
Yet although praising Senna's talent, he was somewhat less clear about the Brazilian's future at the team.
"Bruno is very intelligent and very sensitive and that means he is putting a lot of pressure on himself. Whether it is the name or not, I don't know," Wolff added.
"Every racing driver in F1 is very competitive and Bruno is trying to fight the fact that he hasn't had a huge racing education, as the family didn't want him to go racing. But he has made his way into F1, which means that he is good.
"He has an extremely fast team-mate and he needs to follow his path. He is pushing very hard and we are trying to support him as best we can."