With 2014 radically altering the recent pecking-order, Pastor Maldonado’s move from Williams to Lotus has seemed to be an ill-fated decision. The Enstone outfit suffered a disastrous pre-season, with neither Maldonado or his teammate Romain Grosjean, managing a race simulation run. Meanwhile, Pastor’s former employers have enjoyed an excellent winter, and with the help of a popular title sponsor and an array of new technical staff, it is surprising that Pastor is not regretting his move to Enstone. Although, it is equally unsurprising that he is not admitting to it. Confused? Well, it is 2014…
Pastor; “The Best Decision Ever”
“In my opinion it’s the best decision ever,” he told Autosport. “I saw the car first in the wind-tunnel and it was fantastic. It’s completely a different car, the most interesting car in the paddock, the most beautiful car, aggressive. I think they’ve done a really good job in terms of design.”
Obviously, it is far too early to declare that Maldonado’s move to Lotus was a mistake. The E22 is intuitively designed, with the unique two-tusk approach to the nose and the vertical pillar supporting the rear wing bending around the exhaust exit, just two of a number of interesting elements. However, the achilles heal of the car has been reliability, with the Renault powertrain finding compatibility with the E22 difficult to strike. The issues in Bahrain have undoubtedly been compounded by their absence from Jerez, but they could not have imaged the string of issues which derailed their progress. Battery problems, a cracked exhaust, (which was in fact a failed upgrade,) and an overheating powertrain meant that Romain Grosjean’s running was restricted to less than 100 laps – Maldonado only fared marginally better.
The Venezuelan did concede; “I don’t know if my decision to move teams is good or worse for the results, we need to race first. The season is long, we will see.” Lotus’ overall package looks very promising, but all of the events this winter point to a successful weekend in Melbourne for Williams, while a disastrous Australian Grand Prix looks on the cards for Lotus. Hence, the first race may not be a clear indicator of just how good Pastor’s decision to head to Lotus was – Until Lotus secure reliability, it would be unfair to pass judgement, considering the intuitive design of their car.
Maldonado’s move to Lotus caused great distaste among F1 fans, largely due to the fact that Nico Hulkenberg was once again overlooked through a lack of funding. Regardless of what Maldonado says, it appears that the real winners in these early stages are Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg. At least ahead of Melbourne, they appear to be in better shape, unless Pastor knows something that we don’t.