Williams Formula One test driver Valtteri Bottas is taking the leap to race driving.

Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas will be the Williams team's drivers for the 2013 Formula One season.

Bottas has been promoted from reserve driver for the past two seasons and will take the place of Bruno Senna, the team announced Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Bottas, a Finn who was the GP3 champion in 2011, will be making his debut season in F1 next year.

“It has always been my life-long dream to compete in the Formula One World Championship. To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special,” Bottas said.

“I've really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat.”

Maldonado will be racing for Williams for the third successive season, rewarded for a successful 2012 in which he won the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.


“I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success,” the 27-year-old Venezuelan said.

Maldonado finished 15th in the drivers' standings this year with 45 points, followed by Senna in 16th place with 31. Williams finished eighth in the constructors' championship with 76 points.

Williams team principal Sir Frank Williams said the pair are capable of big things in 2013.

“In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing,” he said. “Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and this year has seen him mature as a racing driver.

“Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future.”

Senna will now be looking for a drive with another team next season.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bruno for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best of luck going forward,” Williams said. -Sapa-AP