Actually, 23-year-old Finn Bottas is a rookie, and – once the Grove team gets its 2013 car up and running in Barcelona this month – he will have just four days at the wheel before making his grand prix debut in Australia.
But Venezuelan Maldonado said: “Valtteri has been actively involved in the development (of the FW35) and has done a lot of long days in the simulator.
“He is not a complete rookie,” he told the MTV3 broadcaster. “I believe he will enjoy this season and will be immediately competitive.” Indeed, one of departed Williams driver Bruno Senna’s complaints was that, despite racing throughout 2012, he usually had to give up his car to Bottas on Friday mornings at grands prix.
Before and after those race weekends last year, reserve driver Bottas was often seen helping the Williams mechanics and truckies set up and dismantle the garage.
The Finn told British Sky television at Jerez: “I promised the guys, even though I am racing now, at least once I will come and help them again.”