Maldonado: Lotus has nothing to lose in Abu Dhabi

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Pastor Maldonado is heading into the final round of the 2014 Formula 1 season in Abu Dhabi with an open mind, saying that there is nothing to lose for Lotus after a difficult year.

Maldonado has scored just two points so far this season, with teammate Romain Grosjean only picking up another eight to leave Lotus eighth in the constructors’ championship ahead of only Sauber, Marussia and Caterham.

In Abu Dhabi next weekend, double points are on offer, meaning that Maldonado does have a chance of adding to his paltry total before the season is out. However, he is anticipating a tough weekend at Yas Marina due to the style of the circuit.

“I think it’s going to be tough for us in general to be honest but it shouldn’t be too bad,” Maldonado said. “I think it’s crucial that we try and improve our qualifying pace because as soon as we are in the top twelve, things should be on the up and we’ll be in a good position to fight for points.

“We’ve seen that our race pace is quite competitive so it’s all about starting from the highest grid position possible. We know this is an area we need to make big strides forwards and Romain and I are working closely with the engineers to improve our qualifying results.

“It’s the last race of the season so we have nothing to lose and we’ll just be focusing hard on ironing out any issues with next year in mind.”

Abu Dhabi will mark the end of Renault’s 20-year partnership with the Enstone operation that Lotus now occupies, with the team making the switch to Mercedes power units for 2015.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.