Representing Venezuela “a huge responsibility” – Maldonado

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Pastor Maldonado says he feels a great responsibility in representing Venezuela in Formula One.

Maldonado became Venzuela’s first F1 driver in 27 years when he entered the sport in 2011. He brings significant backing to Williams courtesy of Venezuela’s state-owned oil and gas manufacturer PDVSA.

“It’s a huge responsibility that I have,” Maldonado told CNN. “I have a complete country pushing in my back so every day we do not do very well, I have some pressure.”

Maldonado scored his first and, so far, only win at the Spanish Grand Prix last year. He said that was a major boost for his profile back home.

“You know, F1 after my victory last year became a very popular sport,” he said. “We have two live TV channels so it’s getting bigger and bigger – which is why I have even more responsibility.”

Questions were raised over the future of Maldonado’s sponsorship arrangement following the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez earlier this year.

Maldonado said Chavez was “very close to the drivers” backed by his country, including IndyCar racer EJ Viso and GP2 racer Rodolfo Gonzalez, who has also driven for Marussia in practice sessions this year.

Maldonado has set up his own foundation to promote Venezuelan racing talent: “We want to find a new driver from the very poor slums of Venezuela and give him the opportunity to become a race driver in the future in F1,” he explained.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)