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Japanese Grand Prix: Maldonado expecting to stay

Pastor Maldonado says that he isn't looking too far ahead, but is confident of remaining with Williams next season.
Despite having been linked to a couple of alternative rides for 2014, Pastor Maldonado insists that he is expecting to remain at Williams for a third year.

The Venezuelan – or, more specifically, the sponsorship package that accompanies him – was deemed to be attractive to rivals such as Lotus, although Williams has since confirmed that its deal with South American oil giant PDVSA remains watertight through to the 2015 season, apparently regardless of Maldonado's presence.

Such has been the lack of competitiveness at Williams this year, the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner began the build-up to this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix by intimating that he may even be prepared to sit out 2014 rather than be fighting at the back of the field. However, he appeared to have relented on that 'threat' by the time he faced the press with some of his peers at Suzuka on Thursday afternoon.

“For sure, it was a hard beginning of the season and quite hard times for us as a team,” he noted, “We've been working very, very hard, 24 hours per day, trying to improve our performance and trying to do something different to improve the car performance. At the moment, we find some way, but maybe it's not enough to catch the teams who are quite close to us.”

After seemingly taking an upturn in performance last season, Williams has accrued just a single point in 2013, courtesy of Maldonado's tenth place in Hungary, but the former GP2 Series champion has generally found himself scrapping somewhere between the likes of Toro Rosso and the Caterham/Marussia battle at the back of the pack.

“We need to keep trying, we need to keep doing so until the last race, I think,” he insisted, despite being aware that Williams – like its rivals – needs to switch a lot of its resources to the 'all new' F1 it faces in 2014, “There are still five races to go, [and] we've been quite close, even last weekend, to being in the points. We had some problem in the last part of the race but, yeah, I'll keep trying to get some more points before the end of the season and then we will see for the next year. At the moment, I have a contract and it's looking quite good.”

Should he stay, Maldonado looks likely to be partnered, for a second season, by Finn Valtteri Bottas, who has proved to be a match for the Venezuelan for much of the year.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Williams F1 Team FW35
Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35 leads Davide Valsecchi (ITA) Lotus F1 E21 Third Driver.
05.10.2013- Qualifying, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams F1 Team FW35
20.09.2013-  Free Practice 2, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams F1 Team FW35
26.07.2015 - Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-30.
26.07.2015 - Race, Start of the race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW37 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB11
26.07.2015 - Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23
26.07.2015 - Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06
26.07.2015 - Race, Roberto Merhi (ESP) Manor Marussia F1 Team and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
26.07.2015 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW37 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
26.07.2015 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW37
26.07.2015 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW37
26.07.2015 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-30 and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
26.07.2015 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
26.07.2015 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW37 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06
26.07.2015 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW37
26.07.2015 - Race, Crash, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
26.07.2015 - Race, Crash, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23

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