"Was Maldonado poised for a breakthrough?"

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    There is an article with the same title on Autosport and I would like to know some of your more sophisticated views on the matter.

    First off: I’m not a fan of Maldonado, never’ve been (in fact, as an Alonso fan, I was pretty frustrated to see his best drive ever resulting in a points loss for the Spaniard which stripped him of the 2012 world title). I’m quick to laugh and feel embarrassed at the same time on his seemingly endless series of mindless moves and stupid manouvers. His apparent unwillingness to never acknowledge a mistake publicly and thus ruling out the opportunity to actually learn from his experiences is just not cutting it.

    (The mentioned article probably lists the same factors, but I’ve not actually read it and I consider myself knowledgeable enough to connect the dots by myself. But I’m still curious about other point of views.)

    But… It cannot be denied, looking at one-lap and long-run paces, that Maldonado, when not making one of his many mistakes, is about as fast as those in the second line behind the very best – he drew level on pace with Grosjean last year, after all.

    What’s even more important, he somehow managed to score more times during the last third of the season than perhaps during his entire F1 career. He, quietly, under the radar, stopped making race-ending driver errors. I’d wager that’s what the article focus on as well.

    So… what do you think? Was end-2015 a turning point for Maldonado’s on-track performance? Or was it just a string of decent results he actually cared to put in just to show his worth to Renault? (In which case, he’s simply reckless in other times.)


    he drew level on pace with Grosjean last year, after all.

    that is not true. also please note that pastor has never had to sit out an fp1 session all year, whereas grosjean had to do so on many occasions. it doesn’t matter how you twist things, grosjean was always quicker and more consistent.

    maldonado is only quick on 3-4 occasions per year, that simply isn’t enough, along with all the mistakes he makes.

    i still have my doubts over this whole debate though, i refuse to believe this is true until it gets confirmation from renault themselves. however i will celebrate, if it happens.


    AUSTRALIA: Taken out in multi-car, first-corner accident
    Verdict: Innocent

    MALAYSIA: Exceeds safety car time
    Verdict: Guilty, 10-second penalty

    CHINA: Retires after contact with Jenson Button
    Verdict: Innocent, Button penalised

    BAHRAIN: Starts from the wrong grid position
    Verdict: Guilty, five-second penalty

    SPAIN: Suffers rear wing damage when hit by team-mate Romain Grosjean
    Verdict: Innocent

    MONACO: Contact with Felipe Massa at Ste Devote on lap one
    Verdict: Innocent (racing incident)

    BRITAIN: Retires on the spot when Grosjean spins into him
    Verdict: Innocent

    HUNGARY: Collides with Sergio Perez
    Verdict: Guilty, gets two penalty points and a drive-through

    BELGIUM: Crashes in practice at Les Combes, retires in the race in part due to excessive use of kerbs
    Verdict: Guilty, self-inflicted retirement

    ITALY: Out on lap one in another multi-car incident
    Verdict: Innocent, typical Monza chicane shunt

    SINGAPORE: Contact with Button
    Verdict: Jury out, Button heavily critical but no penalty

    BRAZIL: Tags Marcus Ericsson into a spin
    Verdict: Guilty, handed five-second penalty

    ABU DHABI: Wiped out by Fernando Alonso at the start
    Verdict: Innocent, Alonso penalised

    To be fair, he was somewhat decent this year. I think he would have done just fine but Magnussen is definitely a better driver. I’d have preferred a Magnussen-Maldonado line-up to a Magnussen-Palmer one.

    I’m happy Magnussen landed a drive after the comments made by Ron Dennis. I hope Renault will destroy McLaren next year, that’ll show them.


    Interesting points.

    note that pastor has never had to sit out an fp1 session all year, whereas grosjean had to do so on many occasions.

    Since the advent of sophisticated simulators, I doubt that is a massive disadvantage – I can’t recall many occasions when Grosjean had a bigger advantage because of more seat time during a weekend anyway. But it is a fact he missed FP1s nonetheless and it might contribute to losing some rhythm.

    I’d have preferred a Magnussen-Maldonado line-up to a Magnussen-Palmer one.

    I agree. The problem with Palmer is that he’s not even quick enough to begin with. At least, Maldonado was generally able to be as quick as Grosjean or just a fraction off. Magnussen – who’s a lot better package than Maldonado, I agree with that one as well – would sweep the floor with the Briton, I would say.


    I think it is time for Maldonado to leave F1. Even if he had improved in 2015 it too little too late. Don’t forget the man has been in F1 since 2011.


    he drew level on pace with Grosjean last year, after all.

    From the driver form guides
    Pastor Maldonado Romain Grosjean
    Qualified ahead 2 17
    Average qualifying gap +0.45s –
    Finished race ahead 2 5
    Laps spent ahead 160 491
    Championship points 27 51

    By no means did Maldonado draw level with Grosjean last year (is that correct English?)

    I don’t think Maldonado was the worst driver in 2015. Second, his entertainment value is quite high. But no team would choose him if he wasn’t a paydriver. So bye bye Maldonado.


    “Was Maldonado poised for a breakthrough?” Without him putting his hands up, admitting that he is at fault for the vast majority (granted not all) of the incidents he has been involved in over the course of his career, no.

    Having Maldonado and Grosjean in the same team was a great marker for the development of the two drivers. Both are GP2 champions, both have massive raw pace, both are seemingly nice family guys out the car and both have(had) a reputation for being a bit wayward. But only Grosjean put his hands up, sought help and managed to overcome his reputation as a crasher (or first lap nutcase if you prefer). Maldonado has the capacity to do the same, but because he seems to steadfastly deny hat he has any failings he will never fulfil his potential.

    Maldonado may end up regretting not asking for Grosjean’s psychologist’s phone number.


    @rigi @matthijs

    he drew level on pace with Grosjean last year, after all.

    I was pretty sure that this point would be picked and under attack here the most.

    Driver form guides are ‘just’ headline, OK medium-deep, data – if you want the whole picture you have to look beyond that, take note of best sectors (i. e. combined best laps, which Keith does not provide in his quali analyses anymore, sadly), compare race paces on the race charts, consider driver errors in quali and the race, deep data, stuff like that.

    According to my notes, on one-lap pace (which doesn’t necessarily equal the ‘qualified ahead’ columns here,) Grosjean was quicker 14 times, Maldonado 4 times and it was almost dead even once. The average quali gap was much smaller than in the headline results. In terms of race pace, it was even (8 times) or, due to different strategies and/or traffic, inconclusive (10 times, but including all three lap 1 double-retirements) bar the Hungaroring where Grosjean was clearly quicker. So on one lap, it was indeed Grosjean, but a) not by the amount in the headline figure, b) it was not a whitewash, so Maldonado had the pace, if he pulled himself together and c) in race conditions he was just as quick as the Frenchman. (Only a bit more error prone, 7-6 on Sundays, but a lot more so in high-stakes, point-scoring positions.)

    Now I’m not saying ‘OMG JEEEZZZ, WHY U NO KEEP MALDO,’ I also think he’s likely unable to produce the goods consistently, he’s likely not strong enough mentally, I’m just trying to encourage others to ponder whether his late season consistency surge signifies he might have had more to give. I presumed at least we, F1 fanatics, are on the same page when it comes to judging on-track performance.

    I think it was @xtwl who sounded off most meaningfully on the intended purpose of the topic and I’m actually very much with him in terms of verdict.

    EDIT: @geemac also provided an excellent angle while I was typing this reply.


    @xtwl GRO had also been in F1 for ages when he crashed into WEB at suzuka though. WEB had a slightly colourful sentence for him.

    Though I guess MAL’s been in F1 for longer than that, but still, I remember what we all thought about GRO.

    Maybe another wife would help MAL’s driving.


    @atticus-2 You are right when you say that figures and numbers never tell the whole story. But when the numbers are so dominantly in favour of one driver, it normally means that that one driver is indeed better.

    But that is not your statement. You state that 2015 may have been Maldonado’s turning point and that there is more to come if only he would keep his/a seat. I think that 2015 was his best year. But he was still comfortably beaten by his teammate. I am interested to see whether Maldonado can keep improving, but then again I will not shed one tear if he leaves.



    You state that 2015 may have been Maldonado’s turning point and that there is more to come if only he would keep his/a seat.

    Nope. I asked what if end-2015 was a turning point for him. I don’t personally believe so. (And I’ve never said that there’s more to come from him if he manages to keep a seat.)


    What kind of breakthrough were we expecting from him? Even if he was to clean up his act and make less mistakes, he still lacks a lot of pace compared to a driver like Grosjean. Pastor’s breakthrough would result in him moving up from #20 in the driver’s rankings to around #15 at best. He’s be a forgettable competitor even at his peak

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