“I would like to thank Frank Williams and the whole team for the investment that everyone at Williams has made to help me over the past two years," the Finn noted, "The opportunity now to continue this unique development with the position of reserve driver will enable me to gain essential experience as part of the race team in 2012. In this position, I will do my utmost to help the team to set up for a great race weekend and also look forward to playing a role off the track with the team at the factory and with our partners.”
After winning four prestigious kart titles between 2004 and 2006, Bottas moved into single-seater racing in 2007. He won both the Formula Renault Eurocup and NEC championships, with 22 wins from 48 starts. In F3, he was the highest-placed rookie in the Euroseries, finishing third in the championship before going on to take three wins - and claiming back-to-back Masters titles - in his second season. This year, he moved over to GP3 and, after a slow start, claimed the title with four wins in the last seven races.
“We have a very specific approach to young driver development, working with one highly talented individual over a period of years," Williams confirmed, "Valtteri has proved a very capable and rounded young man of fierce determination. As the team's reserve driver, we anticipate that Valtteri will participate in a Friday practice session at 15 grands prix next year, most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend. We will announce the identity of that driver in due course.”
Barrichello insists that he is not done with F1 despite having just completed his 19th season in the top flight, but it appears that he is unlikely to be Williams 'more experienced driver' next season.