Maldonado cleared to start race

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Pastor Maldonado will start the Australian Grand Prix despite failing to set a time in qualifying.

Maldonado fell foul of the stipulation that all drivers must set a time within 107% of the fastest lap during Q1.

However the stewards granted the Lotus driver permission to start on the grounds that he had “set satisfactory times in practice”. They added this does not set a precedent for future races.

Maldonado failed to set a time at all on Friday after a series of problems with his car. He did 15 laps in final qualifying including a best time of 1’34.757 which was just over 6% slower than the fastest time set by Nico Rosberg.

A further technical problem kept Maldonado from joining the track in Q1 before the rain arrived.

“It was a power unit related issue which meant we were so late to the track,” he said. “By that time it started to rain, and then, that’s it.”

“We just need to stay focussed and keep on working and that’s exactly what we’re doing. For the race we’ll just do the best we can. Our pace should be quite good; we just need to put the laps together.”

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Image © Lotus/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Maldonado cleared to start race”

  1. FIA gets some things right ;)

    1. Really? When a driver’s calling a car dangerous and undriveable, it makes me wonder if this really is the right decision. I hope they park it if there’s even a hint of rain.

  2. He sets some times, but is unable to keep it on the track for more than a couple of corners… Yeah… should be fine. Let´s ignore the 107% safety rule.

  3. Well judging by the car’s speed he’s less likely to live up to his moniker Crashdonado due to the fact he’ll be starting at the back.

    However there still is the braking zone…

    1. @alanmiller
      With the car’s reliability it probably won’t even make it that far…

      1. I bet your right. The drivers from P12 to P20 should be a bit more on their toes just in case.

        1. Considering Vettel is one of the few drivers that hasn’t been Maldanado’d yet, he should be extra careful.

  4. Mr win or lose
    15th March 2014, 9:36

    Before the weekend, everyone was claiming that most teams would fail to qualify within 107% of the fastest time, but even in changing weather conditions, the gaps were not very large. The Renault engines seem to be doing pretty well. Most teams, except for Lotus, do not seem to have real reliability-issues, which is a good sign. F1 will be more like last year than anyone expected.

  5. That’ll save some fuel for everyone else – when Maldonado’s car breaks down, they’ll all have to back off for yellow flags, if not a safety car.

  6. The Lotus brake issues have me worried a bit. If they are in the pack at the start and their rear breaks lock up, as we’ve seen a couple of times this weekend, then it could be quite dangerous for others.

  7. I feel a bit sorry for Lotus having all of these issues but what I do feel glad for is that Maldonado has potentially left one of the quicker teams to drive what is now an awful car.

    He doesn’t deserve to be in F1 in my opinion and I hope that this will be his last season and that it won’t be a good one.

    1. Well that’s a constructive comment…

      1. Construction isn’t always necessary. The Spanish felt that it was and now look at their country – it’s full of ghost towns and they’re much worse off financially.

        IMO it’s good that you’re able to just sit back and say what you want to say

  8. He can start the race, but no way he’ll finish the race.. that car just looks terrible on track

  9. To be honest, I think this in an occasion where the rules should have been applied. The car is almost guaranteed not to finish, and the braking issues which have been plaguing it could turn out to be dangerous.

    1. Exactly.
      I think that the Lotus could be dangerous tomorrow. The car is really slow (Grosjean did manage to do a lap, but he was almost two seconds slower than anyone else) and it looks impossible to drive.
      On the other hand it’s unlikely that the two Lotus are going to do more than 10 laps, so maybe it won’t be a problem.

      1. I wonder what the exact problems are with the Lotus, it surely can’t be just the powerunit…

        It seems that their Brake By Wire system is quite terrible, and they probably also have a lot of problems with their rear suspension.

  10. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    15th March 2014, 23:29

    I’m surprised Lotus are bothering to try and go racing in the first place. Their car has looked utterly rubbish all weekend.

    I guess they’ll just use the race as long run in a test session.

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