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GP Week : Issue 153
It might not be official yet, but all signs are pointing to a full-time race drive for Valtteri Bottas with the Williams F1 team next year. Not only has the Finnish driver been allocated 15 runs in Bruno Senna’s car during Friday practice this season – the first sign that Bottas, who is managed by Williams investor Toto Wolff, would be getting a race seat – but the team have this week announced two new sponsorship agreements with Finnish companies. The first deal is with Wihuri, a Finnish business enterprise that has sponsored Bottas since 2006, while the second is with Kemppi, a Finnsh welding manufacturer that has sponsored Bottas since 2008. “We are delighted to welcome Wihuri to our portfolio of partners,” Sir Frank Williams said of the Wihuri deal. “They have provided considerable support to Valtteri in his career thus far and to partner with a company that shares a family structure and strong heritage is greatly satisfying. We are all looking for ward to working with them in the future.” But lest you think that Bottas’ promotion is more to do with funding and connections than it is outright talent, it should be noted that the young Finn has out-performed Pastor Maldonado at three of the four practice sessions the two drivers have shared. The much-maligned Venezuelan racer silenced many of his doubters at the weekend by securing pole position (via Lewis Hamilton’s exclusion) and the race win – Williams’ first in eight years! The fact that Bottas has demonstrated better pace on several occasions this season despite his relative lack of experience with the car bodes well for his future with the Williams team. Presuming that Bottas gets the widely expected promotion – Bruno Senna is on a one-year contract with Williams this season – it will be the first time since the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix that three Finnish drivers have lined up on the Formula One grid. BOTTAS TO RACE FOR WILLIAMS IN 2013 EDITOR: Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITORS: Naoise Holohan, Kate Walker F1 ANALYST: Peter Windsor MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott email@example.com RALLY EDITOR: Martin Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION ARTIST: Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY: Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Emily Davenport PUBLISHER: Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org n Gaye Grinsted (WRC/MotoGP) email@example.com Ph: +44 (0) 207 254 8796 Mob: +44 (0) 7921 283 070 n Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS