Tag Archives: Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado: “I think we are not that far from Williams”

Pastor Maldonado says that Lotus is not far off the pace of Williams – and says he is hoping to make Q3 in Monaco, a track where he has shown well in the past.

Maldonado has yet to make the points in 2015, while team mate Romain Grosjean has scored in each of the last three races. He is officially last in the World Championship, behind the two Manor drivers.

“It’s difficult to say,” he told this writer when asked about his Monaco hopes. “We were expecting to be a little bit more competitive in Spain in quali, we weren’t, but we did a great strategy on saving tyres for the race at the same time.

“Monaco is very particular. We know we are going to be on the supersofts, but they are not very supersoft. We’ve been struggling in the past to put temperature in the tyres. Quali is very important there, it’s not only one lap, but it’s difficult to say. I hope to get 100% from the car, and be in the top 10. That would be awesome.

“The car is not bad. It’s not the best, or the second best, but I think we are not that far from Williams. They are still a little bit ahead of us, especially in qualifying. In the races we are coming very close. In some stints we are a bit quicker, not a lot, maybe one tenth. I think they have more degradation than us, so at the beginning of the stint they are quicker, at the end of the stint we are quicker. We are quite close to them, but we need to get closer.”

Maldonado’s Spanish GP was spoiled by wing damage after contact with Grosjean, but not before he’d caught the eye with some good passing moves.

“I was just trying to get the best from the car. It’s possible to do it, but it’s never easy. I was driving quite well in the last sector, just trying to get close. That was the key.”

Barcelona’s Sector 3 is seen as a useful test for Monaco: “The traction was quite good, maybe not the total speed in the corner because of the downforce compared to the top teams, but the traction was really good.”


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Could Lotus switch to Mercedes power from 2015?

Lotus could be set to switch from Renault to Mercedes power in 2015, well placed sources have confirmed.

While the two parties have an ongoing contract inevitably there has been some tension between Lotus and Renault this year. Lotus has been late with payments to the French manufacturer over the past couple of seasons, while the reliability and performance problems associated with the power unit have proved frustrating to the team.

Although the Enstone operation has an association with Renault dating back to the Benetton days of 1995, a fresh start with Mercedes would have obvious appeal. It would also go some way to guaranteeing an improvement in form, which would encourage sponsors – including those of Pastor Maldonado – to stay loyal.

Mercedes meanwhile will have the capacity to supply another team following the departure of McLaren to Honda next season. However, Stuttgart will no doubt demand suitable financial guarantees from Lotus, in the form of payment up front. There is also the question of whether the Lotus and Mercedes names are compatible from a marketing point of view.

No one know how good the McLaren-Honda package will be but the prospect of Lotus joining Williams and Force India in the Mercedes camp will not be an encouraging one for the likes of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel…


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Lotus finally confirms Maldonado deal

Lotus has finally officially confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will race for the team in 2014, alongside Romain Grosjean.

As previously reported here Maldonado and his Venezuelan backers opted for Lotus over Sauber in Brazil on Sunday, after a frantic final day of discussions with both teams.

However, it has taken most of this week to finalise what is obviously a complex deal. It’s believed that the sponsors wanted to ensure that their funding goes into the operating budget of the Enstone team, rather than straight towards paying off loans or debts, and also there was the matter of ensuring that Grosjean’s backer Total and PDVSA could work together.

Although it was assumed that Maldonado’s decision would quickly trigger a round of announcements elsewhere, that is unlikely to be the case. The situations at Force India and Sauber are not straightforward, and both teams have been aware of Maldonado’s decision all week.

“It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team next season,” said Eric Boullier. “He has really made the most of his tremendous talent over the latter part of the 2013 season and will be a fantastic asset to our 2014 challenge. Romain will be joined by Pastor Maldonado; a driver I have known since he drove for me at DAMS in the 2005 World Series by Renault season.

“It is clear that Pastor has pace and potential – demonstrated by his 2010 GP2 Series title success and then through strong races throughout his career at Williams F1 Team – and we are convinced that we will be able to provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track. We have been working on our new car in alignment with the new regulations for over two years and we are confident that we have a very good solution to all the challenges ahead. With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year.”

Grosjean said: “This past year has been tremendously satisfying for me. We have worked well together, and I know everyone at Enstone is motivated to continue the fight for every last point available. I am very excited about next year’s car and I cannot wait to get out on track for pre-season testing before heading to Australia for the first race of the season.”

Maldonado said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014. It’s no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula 1 career and Lotus F1 Team offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season. The regulations and cars will change significantly so it is a very good time for a fresh start. I can’t wait to be racing in black and gold.”


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Pastor Maldonado: “The decision will be down to me…”

Pastor Maldonado said today that he still doesn’t know which team he will drive for in 2014 – and insisted that the decision is in his hands.

The Venezuelan has been closely linked to Lotus, amid much speculation that a deal has already been done. Meanwhile Sauber has also been mentioned as a possible destination. Not surprisingly his huge PVDSA budget is much in demand, although the sponsor has an ongoing contract with Williams.

Meanwhile his situation has created something of a logjam in the driver market.

“At the moment I don’t have a decision yet,” Maldonado said today. “The decision will be down to me, so I prefer to take some more time. I really hope to have a decision before the end of the season. There are still a couple of weeks to go, so we’ll see. I cannot guarantee I will leave the team, or I will stay. The decision is very important. It’s my third season in my career, so it’s a very important moment professionally for me, and I will want to have the best decision for my future.”

Asked if Lotus was his preferred option, he said: “I cannot mention that at the moment. I have some offers and I’m analysing that very well. I have to have the best decision for myself.”

Maldonado made it clear that various factors would play a part in his choice.

“Many things. It’s not easy as a driver to choose a team, especially when everything will be new for next year. I’ve been here for three years, so it will maybe be an advantage to stay in the team, because I know everyone here. In another team it will be something like starting from zero. I will not be the first one doing that in history. We’ll see.

“Apart from that you have many factors, you need to see who will work with you and for you, the projects, engines, many things. The people, the feeling is very important, to have a good feeling with the people around. Budgets, all the budget plans, it’s very important. I’m taking my time because I need to feel comfortable.”

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