His debut season at Lotus has been somewhat of a non-starter, but Pastor Maldonado is certainly not ready to throw in the towel in regards to this campaign just yet. The Venezuelan may be pointless so far, yet is optimistic that the final five races could change this and give him and the team a perfect springboard into the 2015 campaign.
Out of Shape
Lotus have been on the back foot ever since the closing stages of last season. Financial turmoil towards the conclusion of the 2013 campaign resulted in a nasty hangover which has proved difficult to shake off all season long. The E22 came a month late and a combination of a radical design gone wrong and a below par powerunit has meant that 2014 has been a write off – a season which has seen just an eight point return for the Enstone squad. To place this into perspective, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean had amassed 206 points by Singapore last year, aided by a race win for the former in the opening round.
While 2014 technology is temperamental, (albeit not as much as was predicted), neither Lotus could complete the race distance in Australia. The E22 has unquestionably improved in the reliability stakes, yet it has remained stagnant in terms of performance and if anything, has fallen backwards in recent months. If the team have ended development of the E22 early, it would hardly come as a surprise.
Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado’s season has been far from a success. As his former employers have enjoyed a monumental rise up the pecking order, Maldonado has found himself in an almost identical position to 2013, when he struggled with a difficult car at Williams.
Despite being without a point in 2014, Pastor is certainly far more positive than he was 12 months ago. “I am confident we can finish the season off in a good way which will give us some great momentum for the new season in 2015,” the Venezuelan commented. “Obviously it has been a difficult year but the important thing is that we are still united as a team and emerge stronger. From what I see and learn the 2015 car looks like being a very good package.”
From what we have seen so far throughout Pastor’s career, it appears that he requires a good car underneath him in order for his qualities to shine through. His many incidents and accidents this season are perhaps a result of over-driving, in an attempt to compensate for a lack of car performance. Unquestionably, Pastor’s best season in Formula One came in 2012, when Williams’ FW34 helped him to his maiden victory at Barcelona. This suggests to me, that if Lotus’ 2015 package can launch them to former glories, Maldonado’s form will follow suit.
A Mercedes powertrain would certainly be of benefit…