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Maldonado to drive for Lotus in 2014 alongside Grosjean
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Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Nov 2013   |  5:27 pm GMT  |  371 comments

As expected, Lotus have announced that Pastor Maldonado will join the Enstone-based team next season alongside Romain Grosjean, who retains his race seat for a third year.

Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg was the initial frontrunner to replace Kimi Raikkonen, who will return to Ferrari next season, at Lotus.

However, consistent delays in an investment deal with Quantum Motorsports meant Lotus required a driver with backing and Maldonado – with his $30m of sponsorship money from Venezuelan oil company PDVSA – entered the frame.

Maldonado leaves Williams after three seasons and 58 grand prix starts. The high point came in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix when he took his maiden pole position and victory at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Maldonado, who finished 18th in this year’s drivers’ standings with one point, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014. It’s no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula 1 career and Lotus F1 Team offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season.

“The regulations and cars will change significantly so it is a very good time for a fresh start. I can’t wait to be racing in black and gold.”

Grosjean retains his seat at the team after a very strong end to the season which saw him take four podiums in the final six races to finish seventh in the drivers’ championship.

The Frenchman said: “I am very happy to have official confirmation that I will be continuing to drive for Lotus F1 Team next season. This past year has been tremendously satisfying for me.

“We have worked well together, and I know everyone at Enstone is motivated to continue the fight for every last point available. I am very excited about next year’s car and I cannot wait to get out on track for pre-season testing before heading to Australia for the first race of the season.”


Lotus team principal Eric Boullier added: “[Romain] has really made the most of his tremendous talent over the latter part of the 2013 season and will be a fantastic asset to our 2014 challenge.

“[Pastor] is a driver I have known since he drove for me at DAMS in the 2005 World Series by Renault season. It is clear that Pastor has pace and potential – demonstrated by his 2010 GP2 Series title success and then through strong races throughout his career at Williams F1 Team.

“We are convinced that we will be able to provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track. We have been working on our new car in alignment with the new regulations for over two years and we are confident that we have a very good solution to all the challenges ahead.

“With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year.”

The JA on F1 2013 year book is now available to pre-order. It is a large format paperback, with a Foreword by David Coulthard and featuring stunning photography from Darren Heath. It retails at £10-99.

Every copy ordered through this site will be personally signed by me. Copies will be despatched on December 7th in plenty of time for Christmas. To order yours and to be sure of getting a copy click on this link: JA on F1 2013 Book

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1

Let’s look at the CVs of three drivers:

Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Grosjean

Number of GP2 titles: 1 each

Number of pole positions: Maldonado and Hulkenberg 1, Grosjean 0

Number of wins: Maldonado 1, Hulkenberg and Grosjean 0.

Number of bans for dangerous driving: Grosjean 1, Maldonado and Hulkenberg 0

People really do have a downer on Maldonado, but I’m really not sure why!

2

It is a xenphobia issue…!!

3

lot of picking on lotus here. really they should never have taken that name it fitted better with caterham

considering lotus’s budget they haven’t done too bad.

At least the maldonado cash wont be squandered next year.

Pastor seems as difficult to like as senna .

I think people seem to forget that senna only became the most beloved F1 driver of all time after his demise and was prone to crashing into other cars.

4

I don’t see anything stopping Romain Grosjean now, I see him becoming the most consistent challenger to Vettel if Lotus get their act together next season.

5

I can’t take F1 seriously anymore. Is it too much to ask to have the best drivers in the best cars?

6

Hi james, different subject but any chance you will be doing a piece on the new tyre rules – mandatory pitstops / max stints lengths / implications on strategy / which drivers likely to suit – really think this change is interesting (not as if we have enough mouth watering changes on the way) thanks for your web site, have really enjoyed reading the posts this season, best F1 web sitep

7

F1 is in a mess when teams are making decisions to choose Maldonado over hugely more talented drivers. Will we ultimately get to the point where the grid is half filled with boy racers who have rich fathers or uncles that own an oil company. This is not compatible with what is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor sport. Well done Bernie, that another fine mess you’ve got us into.

8

I used to really like this team while they had Raikkonen and Kubica, but they seem destined to fall backwards. Ferrari has poached their most talented staff and now they take on a pay driver over the talented Hulk. It’s back to the midfield in 2014 with the occasional podium.

9

So, that means the Mini Kimi will be replaced by Mini Pastor… Hmmm Sad [mod]

10

http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/formula-1/korean-grand-prix-lotus-team-2330370

“…because we have worked hard to build our financial strength without having to rely on sponsorship from a driver.”

Lotus live:

Talking big and ignoring the reality

11

Pasto and hulk are both good drivers to be in f1. hulkenberg is far better. yes pasto got that win. but check out the average points tally for each driver and different picture is painted.

when money talks, fans look elsewhere!

12

So…

1) Seriously injure a marshall because not slowing down despite warning flags

2) using your car to drive across the front wing of another car

using your car to drive into the front wheel of another car

3) no regard for cars around him or rules of the track or rules of overtaking

4) unapologetic over incidents he causes

…..but hey this guy has £30m of sponsorship so lets take him. He may have won a race by total fluke because nobody else understood the tyres that day, but who cares.

Grosjean’s first lap incidents last year were him being overenthusiastic. Maldonado though is just a thug on the track. Harsh and arguable, but that’s my opinion.

13

totally agree with you – can’t think of any driver that is less deserving of a place in F1.

And you didn’t mention how he treated his own team – sabotage indeed! Pathetic

14

this is my view of the man as well! hes a moaning underachiever

15

What a shame Lotus is so broke… there are so many other talented drivers! Maldonado’s negative attitude is his downfall. His blaming Williams for his misfortunate conspiracy theory recently was pathetic – did he honestly think Williams would squander the chance of getting some constructors points just to jeopardize his last few races with them???

He must be even more paranoid delusional than he looks!

16

How can you tell?…were you there?

17

I’d rather watch Maldonado in a decent car than Hulkenberg personally. I just can’t gel with NH or get the slightest bit excited about him. He’s a bit boring isn’t he?

18

don’t know if I should laugh or cry. did Lotus really replace Kimi with Pastor?!?!?! still can’t quite believe it…

19

James?

Granted that the F1 Paddock has disbanded for a couple months, but is there any change in sentiment in F1 circles towards Heikki’s point-less performance for Lotus?

Do they put it down to the difficulty of going into a new team for two races, or has his ‘stock’ gone down? Or up?

20

Torchwood Five

Let’s be honest about it, It’s highly unlikely that Valsecchi would have done any worse.

Heikki has had more than enough chances to prove himself while Valsecchi will never even get a solitary chance.

21

Thank you both.

First race, I was happy for Heikki, but when that was point-less, I would have been just as satisfied if Boullier had given Valsecchi the chance for Brazil.

Hindsight is 20-20 of course. The decision to run Kovaleinen would have been exonerated by at least one point scored, but now I’m with you: Valsecchi wouldn’t have done any worse, and all the excuses about new systems, steering wheel buttons, team procedures, the GP2 champion would have had them covered.

22

I thought it was disappointing, after some decent free practice performances, but maybe they were not what they seemed

23

Apparently the Quantum deal still might go ahead.

See link below:

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/111668

Too late to sign Hulkenberg now though.

24

If that deal proves itself reliable – which means that all the money will come in with no cent missing, I’m ready to eat some humble pie, but I honestly don’t believe I’ll need to.

Ijaz’ stories of famous, influential backers that, just like to remain unnamed, are not new – and are known from his latter fraud case.

25

Great news! At least now Lotus will have the money to back pay Kimi as well as all their factory team members!

26

2014 WCC Predictions

1 Mercedes

2 Ferrari

3 Red Bull

4 McLaren

5 Force India

6 Williams

7 Lotus

8 STR

9 Sauber

10 Caterhaam

11 Marussia

WDC 2014 top 10 Predictions

1 Vettel

2 Hamilton

3 Rosberg

4 Alonso

5 Raikkonen

6 Hulkenberg

7 Button

8 Ricciardo

9 Grosjean

10 Magnussen

27

If Mercedes win the WCC, then Hamilton will be WDC, guaranteed.

The only time a WDC has come from the 3rd-placed WCC team is 1983, when Piquet one with Brabham. Ferrari and Renault were #1 and #2 in the WCC that year.

28

Good on you for taking the time to put it together. Comparing the rankings, I assume that VET is your favourite?

Pretty hard for me to see a team with the WDC being supported by a teamate that is only capable of 8th position, nor finishing 3rd in WCC behind the team with drivers 4 & 5, if in fact that is the case.

Mathematically possible I suppose, but virtually impossible, particularly when the team comprising numbers 7 & 10 comes in at P4.

29

No Kimi is my favorite driver! I just think Alonso will beat him next year. Whilst Kimi will be a good short term for a season fix choosing Hulkenberg would have been better as it would show a long term view. I believe Kimi has made a mistake going back to Ferrari but only time will tell.

30

Short term fix for a season.

31

oops Caterham

32

James, is there any chance of doing an article giving us a “league table” of how much sponsorship each driver brings? And what the companies do that sponsor them?

It would quite interesting I think; we all know about Pastor, but Alonso brings Santander doesn’t he? Though the difference is that Fernando has been proven to be one of the best drivers. I’m most interested in the amount Di Resta brings versus Sutil; there’s a Scottish whiskey brand on the Force India, so I assume that’s Di Resta’s?

I think it’d be pretty interesting, especially if we compared with the team’s own budget and driver salaries if possible…

33

Whyte & Mackay belongs to the “United Breweries Group”, which is one of Vijay Mallya’s companies, even though DiResta as a Scottish driver for a company that produces Scotch looks like a good match, it’s not that he brought Whyte & Mackay to Force India.

34

Cool; cheers guys. I think that’s pretty interesting. I guess it would have been a plus point for Di Resta being Scottish when they signed him at least!

35

VJM owns the whiskey company. Nothing to do with Paul.

36

Nick B the scotch advertised on the Force india is part of Vijay Malya’s Business United Breweries. Paul was not advertising any Scotch Whiskey but White & Mackay is part of United Breweries just like Kingfisher.

37

That’s a good idea
Thanks

38

Can we please have this looking back over the decades, not just current guys?

There have been pay drivers ever since I discovered formula one on the mid sixties.

Name some names I hear you cry: Alex Soler Roig? George Eaton? And there have always been s. Americans with Dosh not just Pastor.

39

Cool; thanks! What would also be epic, though probably impossible, would be to give each team a handicap based on how large their budget was to organise a handicapped scoring system. I think you’d have to use timings rather than positions to make it work.

40

The last should actually read – “With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few CRASHES next year.”

41

I wonder if Kimi has been paid yet

42

A lot of comments about respect being lost for Lotus.

Although I had forgotten, I lost respect for that team while it was still Renault, when they promised reserve driver Karun Chandok that he would drive4 at the inaugural Indian GP that his dat, family, and perhaps himself were integral in making a reality, and when the weekend came up, turned round and gave the team the vote as to whether to field Karun or Heidfeld, and the team chose the latter.

But my prejudices aside, the Lotus decision to for PDVSA’s cash was clearly a reluctant one, and if those who say they have lost respect cast their minds back 2-3 weeks, Lotus were the only team to say that Hulkenberg’s size and weight would not be an issue; that they expected their own engineers to work their way around the limitation.

That attitude deserved some respect.

43

It was Caterham promised Chandhok the India drive when under their former name of Team Lotus in 2011

44

after treating a world champ like the stuff that comes out of bulls back side, lotus has the picked up the best crash and burn driver line up for next year. mad dog mal and nut case gro. well at least, they will provide some amusement behind the two marussias

45

Alonso is a pay driver, check the Santander numbers. He’s just a very good pay driver. Santander also supported Massa, til recently. Both Schumacher and Lauda started out as pay drivers. I think even Fangio’s first F1 drive was paid by supporters in Argentina. The question: is Maldonado good enough to be in the 2nd/3rd/4th best car? He was once. Spain ’12. Frank’s birthday. Fire in garage. P1. Top of podium. Strange things sometimes happen when the stars align. But that was a *very* strange result.

46
The Spanish Inquisitor

Very strange result….. FIA’s gift to Frank Williams…

47

F1 is leaving a really bad taste lately, this is only the latest thing. Maldonado does not deserve a top seat in F1. How much of F1’s ‘quality’ is actually an illusion?

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