Hulkenberg Not Out of Williams Yet - Manager

Although some reports in Brazil suggest that Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado is already one step inside Formula One through a pre-agreement signed with Williams F1 Team, some voices suggest otherwise. Rumor has it for quite some time that the GP2 champion is to replace Nico Hulkenberg at Williams in 2011, yet the latter's manager Willi Weber moved quickly to deny it.

Nico is not 'out' already, as has been speculated. The talks with Williams are continuing, but there are obviously alternatives,” said Weber in a recent interview with the German news agency DPA, hinting that his driver is indeed on the verge of losing his seat, but that decision is yet to be made by Frank Williams.

Williams is the first choice and we would love to stay, but it is extremely important that Nico has a race cockpit in formula one for 2011,” added Weber.

Due to Williams' poor financial balance in the last couple of years, as well as the fact that some of the team's most important sponsors are leaving the boat at the end of this season – RBS, Philips, AirAsia and McGregor – the Grove based team might have to think about money when deciding on the 2011 lineup.

Maldonado will reportedly bring with him some EUR15 million in sponsorship from state-owned petroleum company PDVSA, which will get Williams out of the financial hole they're looking at for the 2011 season. Weber himself admitted that he agrees with Williams' strategy for 2011, as the team needs to survive first and only after think about creating a competitive lineup.

(Chairman) Adam Parr has a great responsibility to hundreds of employees and as the highest priority he must consider the welfare of the team,” added the German manager.

Earlier today, Maldonado was confirmed by Williams for the off-season test at Abu Dhabi, in mid-November.
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