Williams' Pastor Maldonado is the fourth Venezuelan to have competed in Formula One.

Story highlights

Williams retain Pastor Maldonado for 2012 Formula One season

The Venezuelan driver scored one point during his rookie year in the sport

British team's second seat has yet to be confirmed amid much speculation

Finland's Valtteri Bottas has been promoted to role of reserve driver for next year

CNN  — 

Pastor Maldonado will once again compete in Formula One’s world championship next year, after Williams announced the Venezuelan will retain his seat for the 2012 season.

Maldonado had a difficult rookie season in the elite division of motorsport, picking up his only point of 2011 with a 10th place finish at August’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“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,” the 26-year-old told Formula One’s official website.

“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.

“I am thrilled to be part of that and also to represent the people of Venezuela in Formula One.”

Maldonado is the fourth Venezuelan to have raced in F1, following in the footsteps of Ernesto Viso, Ettore Chimeri and Johnny Cecotto.

“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 team principal Frank Williams.

“He has been responsible for all of our forays into Q3 in 2011 and his race at Monaco was outstanding. Pastor has also settled into the team at Williams very well, contributing strongly in the factory and with our partners.

“He will play a critical role in 2012 as we rebuild the team and move forward.”

The identity of Maldonado’s 2012 teammate is still unclear, with speculation surrounding the future of veteran Brazilian Rubens Barrichello.

The former Ferrari driver has started a record 322 grands prix during an 19-year career.

Williams also announced another member of their team for the 2012 season, with young Finn Valtteri Bottas promoted to role of reserve driver.

The reigning GP3 champion is expected to take part in Friday practice sessions next season.

“I would like to thank Frank Williams and the whole team for the investment that everyone at Williams has made to help me over the past two years,” the 22-year-old said.

“I will do my utmost to help the team to set up for a great race weekend and also look forward to playing a role off the track with the team at the factory and with our partners.”