If you were looking for a distraction from the continuing debate over the sound of the current Formula 1 cars as well as other hot topics that have dominated the press lately, then look to the juggernaut that has become the Pastor Maldonado Deprecation Society.
I am not sure where the impetus for the story came from but a recent tweet suggested that Maldonado’s PDVSA sponsorship could be coming to an end—or some such wording. A follow-up tweet suggested that Lotus had no concern over the PDVSA money and so forth. Point being, was this just an enterprising person thinking out loud that continued poor performance would most likely threaten his backing? Of was it an actual comment made by PDVSA?
Regardless, let us put that aside for a moment and look at Maldonado himself. Pastor can drive a car better than I so I tend to think the Maldonado maligning is getting a bit over the top and perhaps that focus keeps people from writing articles equating detractors of he current sound to whiners or deniers.
Not too long ago Maldonado’s teammate, Romain Grosjean, was being eviscerated by the press and fans for his reckless nature but Lotus boss Eric Boullier had patience and a cool hand in helping the young man find his race craft, patience and timing. The result has been staggering.
Now Lotus boss Gerard Lopez says that Maldonado is fine and just needs a similar program to Grosjean’s telling Sky Sports F1:
“We’ve lived partially the same thing with Romain, and people wrote him off, but now…we’ve people knocking on our door to see if he can be in their team. We will take a long-term view on things, so we’re not particularly worried. We’ll get the best out of Pastor.
“We think we can do the same with him, as we did with Romain, to ensure he is at his best every race weekend, and consistently throughout the weekend. I have a lot of faith in him.”
The last time the team made a driver out of a lump of coal, Eric Boullier was in charge but he’s now at McLaren so the bigger question of the great Pastor improvement plan will be if Lopez has the touch to handle the task.
Lotus need the financial support of PDVSA and I like seeing a Venezuelan in the series so hopefully Maldonado can put his boorish pride aside and humble himself to the point of being malleable enough to become a true F1 driver.
At the end of the day, Pastor may not be the best F1 driver to ever be in the series. In fact, he may be a considerable distance down on that list but the guy is human and has feelings. He’s living his dream and is trying hard…perhaps too hard. He’s causing accidents and proving to be very aggressive in his approach. Too aggressive. Too erratic. We can dislike what we see in Pastor but the series only has itself to blame for their financial situation that demands paying drivers. When the paying driver gambit plays out this long and this deep, this is the type of drivers we’re going to get. Is anyone really that surprised?
Address the paying driver issue, series revenue and cost structure and then every driver can be a Lewis Hamilton. As long as the sound (or as kool aid journalists now call it “noise”) is improved of course.