Valtteri Bottas could make his grand prix debut at some point in 2011, the Williams team has hinted.
The famous British team raised the prospect in a media statement issued late on Thursday to confirm that Pastor Maldonado has retained his race seat for 2012.
Williams did not say who will be the PDVSA-sponsored Venezuelan's teammate, but the Oxfordshire based team did say that Finnish rookie Bottas is stepping up to the role of "reserve driver".
"We anticipate that Valtteri will participate in a Friday practice session at 15 grands prix next year, most likely with a more experienced driver taking over for the remainder of the race weekend," said Sir Frank Williams.
"We will announce the identity of that driver in due course."
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport presumes it will be either Adrian Sutil or Rubens Barrichello.
Bottas, 22, was already Williams' test driver in 2011.
"The opportunity now to continue this unique development with the position of reserve driver will enable me to gain essential experience as part of the race team in 2012," he said.