Williams Formula 1 test driver Valtteri Bottas will move into GP3 next season with ART, the team which has run him in the Formula 3 Euro Series for the past two years.
Lotus ART – as the squad will be known in 2011 following its new deal with Group Lotus – took Esteban Gutierrez to the inaugural GP3 title this year, and team boss Frederic Vasseur believes Bottas is the ideal man to defend its crown.
"Valtteri is an extremely gifted, fast and very talented driver on a technical level," said Vasseur. "He is also a charming and intelligent human being with whom the team has always had the pleasure of working. He is perfectly integrated inside the team and has built strong relationships with it over the past three years. Extremely fast, focused and mentally strong, Valtteri fits the profile that we are looking for in our second year in the GP3 Series."
The 21-year-old Finn is a former champion of the NEC and Eurocup Formula Renault series, and took third in the F3 Euro standings with ART in both 2009 and '10, as well as winning the F3 Masters event in each season. Bottas described the switch to GP3 as a "logical" move.
"A season of GP3 Series with Lotus ART is an ambitious project which is part of a logical progression for two reasons," he said. "After having obtained several victories in the F3 Euro Series, in particular the Masters of Zandvoort, I must continue to climb up the ladder which will lead me to the highest level in motorsport and the GP3 Series is the next step as it proved in the first year of the championship. It takes place as the curtain raiser for Formula 1 and the field is very talented. And, secondly, because this is my third season with Lotus ART, it gives us the opportunity of giving fresh input into a very profitable partnership on a sportsman and personal level.
"My first objective is to learn, then be able to race with the best."