Pastor Maldonado has heaped praise on the entire Lotus team after it managed to finish sixth in this year’s Formula 1 constructors’ championship despite enduring a difficult year off-track.
Lotus’ financial difficulties hit a new peak in 2015 as the team faced court orders and even bailiffs at races due to unpaid bills.
The future of the team has since been secured after French manufacturer Renault confirmed that it would be going ahead with its proposed buy-out ahead of the 2016 season.
Speaking to Lotus’ website, Maldonado stressed that the team’s achievements must be understood in the context of its off-track struggles, making P6 in the constructors’ standings all the more impressive.
“It’s not been the smoothest of year for the team, for all of us really, but on the other hand we really can say that we’ve done an amazing job to reach sixth place in the constructors’ championship given our circumstances,” Maldonado said.
“And now, everyone is looking forward, everyone is working hard to make next year as good as it can be.”
The Venezuelan admitted that he failed to achieve what he wanted across the course of the year, but picked his charge to seventh in Austria as his stand-out race of the 2015 season.
“Even if we didn’t quite achieve what we wanted, there has been a great atmosphere within the whole team, we have really been united and that has been the strongest part of this team,” Maldonado said.
“As a stand-out race, I would pick Austria. We started on a reverse strategy and finished well; it was a good race with the team.
“The beginning of the season was tough for me; not being able to score points. It was hard to break that cycle. After we passed that though, things flowed a lot better.”
Maldonado is set to race for Lotus/Renault once again in 2016, partnering rookie driver Jolyon Palmer.