LONDON, Dec 1, 2011 (AFP) - Pastor Maldonado was retained as a Williams driver for 2012 on Thursday, but the veteran British team left Rubens Barrichello in limbo over his dream of a 20th year in Formula One.
Venezuelan driver Maldonado scored just one point in the 2011 season which ended in Brazil last weekend, three fewer than the 39-year-old Barrichello, who is widely expected to be replaced for next year's championship.
"Pastor has proven this year that he is not only quick but also that he is able to maintain a consistent and strong race pace," said Williams boss Frank Williams.
"He has been responsible for all of our forays into Q3 in 2011 and his race at Monaco was outstanding (where he qualified in eighth place)."
Maldonado, 26, collected his one point in Belgium in September.
He replaced Nico Hulkenberg at the start of last season and reportedly brought around 15 million dollars in sponsorship with him to Williams.
"I am delighted to be able to continue with Williams into my second season and I will give my very best to help the team as we push to return to the front of the grid," he said.
"This has been a tough season for the whole team but it has given me personally the opportunity to learn and develop. I am convinced that the steps we have taken to improve our competitiveness will bear fruit in 2012 and beyond."
Finland's Valtteri Bottas was named as reserve driver but there was no annoucement on who will fill the second seat alongside Maldonado, a development likely to seal the end of Barrichello's time at the team.