F1 2014 Driver Review: Pastor Maldonado

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Pastor Maldonado

Team: Lotus F1 Team
Car No.: 13
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 2
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 16th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Pastor, Pastor, Pastor… I’ve been quick to defend the Venezuelan driver in the past (remember he is a grand prix winner), but 2014 saw him enjoy a totally average year.

Sure, Lotus had its problems both on and off track, but the fact that Maldonado was so soundly beaten by Romain Grosjean in 2014 says a lot. He didn’t show any of the quality that his teammate has in abundance.

That said, Austin did see Maldonado finally discover his form, charging to ninth and his first two points of the season after qualifying P11, but otherwise, it was a year marred by mistakes, crashes and off-track excursions.

There isn’t really a great deal more to say. Let’s hope that Pastor can rediscover some of his old form with Lotus’ switch to Mercedes engines in 2015, but it’s quite clear that Grosjean is the team leader at Enstone.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

After four seasons in Formula One, it’s fair enough to say Pastor Maldonado is what he is – and that’s neither a compliment nor an indictment. His first season with Lotus failed to change too much from his three previous at Williams. There were occasional spurts of brilliance, frequent anonymity and some typically frustrating, clumsy maneuvers you hate to see that still happened.

You go through a year’s worth of headlines and in Maldonado’s case, many seem to have the variation of “spin, crash, contact” or “penalty.” Granted there were a handful of mechanical issues that plagued him throughout the season, and the Lotus-Renault package did him no favors. But overall it was a generally frustrating campaign for the Venezuelan.

The one highlight came where his 2013 season and relationship with Williams officially became unglued, and that was in Austin. He qualified 11th and bagged his only two points on Sunday – which interestingly is equal to the combined number of points he scored in both 2011 and 2013. It was humorous though that his season ended with a Renault engine fire at Abu Dhabi, with Burn sponsorship, in unlucky No. 13… that basically said it all.

Other than 2012, where he punched above his weight and of course scored that miraculous victory in Barcelona, Maldonado hasn’t seemed to make the leap in performance you’d hope a driver of his experience level should do. With Mercedes engines next season, he must plan on more points-paying finishes and making fewer mistakes.