Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Barcelona, 2012

Maldonado’s F1 career in pictures

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Pastor Maldonado has announced his departure Formula One five years after making his debut as a Williams driver.

Maldonado arrived in F1 as the reigning GP2 champion but found the going difficult in his first season in an uncompetitive car alongside the experienced Rubens Barrichello.

For 2012 Barrichello was gone making Maldonado the de facto team leader, partnered by Bruno Senna. The FW34 proved a much more competitive car and Maldonado scored a shock win in the Spanish Grand Prix, the first victory for Williams since 2004, after a race-long battle with Fernando Alonso. He also ran strongly in Singapore until his car failed.

However on other occasions Maldonado seemed out of his depth racing with F1’s front-runners. He was involved in several crashes and a series of other incidents which earned him ten penalties over the course of the year, and a further sanction at the final race weekend for being the first driver to collect three reprimands over a season.

Frequent appearances before the stewards remained a habit Maldonado failed to shake over the next three years. The 2013 saw a return to scrapping for the minor points as Williams lost their way again, and an off-season switch to Lotus proved ill-timed as the team’s 2014 challenger proved hopelessly uncompetitive.

Matters improved in 2015, though Maldonado’s sizeable support from PDVSA was not enough to keep the team out of financial trouble. In the meantime he was being regularly beaten by Romain Grosjean. Maldonado’s backing probably would have been enough to keep him in the squad as they turned into Renault for the new season, but as Venezuela’s political problems worsened and the revenues from their critical oil industry dwindled, the writing was on the wall for the country’s third F1 driver.

Maldonado achieved the distinction of being the only Venezuelan driver so far to win a race, but he also left a trail of wrecked machinery behind him. The gallery below captures some of the more positive memories from his five years and 95 starts as a grand prix driver.

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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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19 comments on “Maldonado’s F1 career in pictures”

  1. Maldonado’s career: it has more peaks and more ravines than the Andes. Despite occasional inspired performances the junior categories or his stupendous drive to victory in Barcelona in 2012, I won’t miss him from a sporting perspective – accept from the comedy appeal – but, whenever I have spoken to him I have always noted what a friendly and ironically gentle man he is. “Crashtor” may be a punchline, but you can only commend him on the way in which that has never dulled his belief in his own abilities.

    That said, without the PDVSA dough, I don’t think we’ll be seeing Pastor in a IndyCar/LMP car/DTM/GT car any time soon…

    1. I feel sorry for the founder of HasMaldonadoCrashedToday.com…

      1. Some interesting statistics frome the webpage:

        Total penalties
        39
        That’s an average of one every 2.4 races

        Penalty Summary:

        Causing a Collision 12
        Speeding (both in pit lane and behind Safety Car) 9
        Penalties for car failures (gearbox, engine etc) 8
        Blue Flags & Blocking 4
        False Start 1
        Unsafe Rejoining to Track 1
        Missing Weighbridge 1
        Multiple Reprimands 1
        Out of Grid Position 1
        Overtaking Before Safety Car Line 1

        Punishment Totals:

        Fines €12,900
        Time Penalties 305 seconds
        Grid Penalties 88 places
        Reprimands 3
        Qualifying Exclusions 1

    2. Maldonado’s tweeted final departure speech is complete with all of his personal quirks. There’s melodrama:

      I went in search of my dreams to unknown lands, without the warmth of my people, of my roots, my Venezuela. At that time, I became a man

      And there is plenty of boasting whilst conveniently overlooking his perennial woes:

      I got used to winning, we received over 200 trophies, of all sizes, shapes…I carry my flag not only in my car but in my soul and so to the very top of the podium

      The single incontrovertible truth about Pastor Maldonado is that he is one of a kind.

    3. He is truly is one of a kind – and it isn’t often you come across drivers like that in modern Grand Prix racing. There’s no discounting his talent and speed, which is why I am really upset that his F1 career seems to have ended. I know he’s facing a major sponsorship gulf now, but I really hope to see him in IndyCar or WEC. Nothing could make me happier than to see him win the Le Mans 24 Hours this season as F1 trudges along in Baku. More of a pipe dream though…I admit.

  2. With Maldonado no more, don’t despaire, we have a new webpage from the creator of “HasMaldonadoCrashToday” Alex Gillon:

    “http://HasMclarenHondaWonYet.com/”

  3. Can we not have Maldonado greatest hits in pictures? :-)

  4. It must have taken all day to find so many pictures with him not crashing.

  5. Addios Pastor,
    Champion of the F1 Penalty Systen

    1. Great Find!

      Honestly, I don’t think I’m going to miss him much. Although Pastor did provide hope to sub par drivers everywhere in the world that they can race in Formula 1.

      I do hope he finds a drive in Nascar though. He should make a hell of an impact there

      1. +1 “a hell of an impact there” :))

  6. He’s one of barely 100 people to ever win a F1 GP – some of the respect here is a bit lacking… The fact that a race winner is forced out of F1 because he can’t come up with tens of millions of dollars say a hell of a lot about this sport.

    1. The fact that a government would use tens of millions to buy a race seat that only proved race winning once for a driver no one will miss says a hell if a lot about the corruption in his country. All respect due is paid with a simple good riddance.

  7. Dat 2011 Williams testing livery…

  8. Is that paint being torn from the kerbs? (India 2011)

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      2nd February 2016, 18:03

      I went and looked at the results of his F1 career from 2011 through 2015. If you exclude the race Pastor won and where his teammate, Bruno Senna, retired, he lost to every teammate. That’s without taking into account all the crashes. Just on pure results, he stayed in F1 for the longest period.

      His win, in fact, makes his record even more controversial and puts the juxtaposition of winning and being beaten off the charts. Without tyre-gate, it’s debatable if he would have ever won. I cannot imagine what drivers like Hulkenberg, Perez, Bottas and others must feel.

  9. wow!!! you managed to find 50+ pics of Maldonado where he wasn’t in the wall / missing a wheel / missing a wing / just generally broken!! kudos to @keithcollantine

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