Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Maldonado “deserves his opportunity”, says Head

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Abu Dhabi, 2010
Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Patrick Head has defended Williams’ new driver for 2011, Pastor Maldonado.

The team faced criticism after dropping Nico H?â??lkenberg for Maldonado, despite a promising performance by H?â??lkenberg in his debut season including a pole position in Brazil.

Maldonado brings sponsorship from Venezuelan state petroleum company PDVSA.

Head wrote in a column for “Motorsport”:

Alongside Rubens will be Pastor Maldonado, who won the 2010 GP2 Championship with more victories than any previous champion.

He comes with some financial support, but deserves his opportunity on merit.
Patrick Head

Williams have retained lead driver Rubens Barrichello but several of their major sponsorship deals including RBS expired at the end of last year.

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53 comments on “Maldonado “deserves his opportunity”, says Head”

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  1. Well, I think he does deserve an oppurtunity, more than Hulkenberg.

    1. He deserves a try, sure, but why more than Hulkenberg? Nico beat him in 2009.

      1. Yeah, in what way does he deserve a drive more than a guy who soundly thrashed him in the same team during his rookie year?

        1. As a defense for their choice of Maldonado in itself, that seems ok. Yes, he seems to have done well enough to deserve a chance in F1.

          But they’re replacing Hulkenberg who was faster than Maldonado when he had no previous experience in GP2. And Hulkenberg now has a year’s experience in F1 on Maldonado on top of his apparent natural advantage. In that light, Head’s defense falls a bit flat.

    2. Don’t be ridiculous, daykind

  2. Hmmmm, he may have the most GP2 wins, but he has been in it for quite some time now…….

    I personally think he’ll do about as well as Hulkenburg, and if that’s good enough for Williams then I suppose no-one can complain, but it’s certainly influenced by the PDVSA money IMO

    1. he may have the most GP2 wins, but he has been in it for quite some time now

      True but I think Head means he had the most wins in a single season. Off the top of my head he had six, and they were all feature races too.

      1. …and they all were in feature races in a row!
        He totally deserves it

      2. I actually think him being in GP2 for several years might prove something of an advantage to Maldonado.
        He did learn to be a bit less reckles on track and get the car home. Possibly it is a bit like drivers used to mature in F2 and back of grid teams in years gone by.

        1. I agree. HĂĽlkenberg was impressive at times last year, but he was a bit of a wildcard. Maldonado may not end up with HĂĽlk’s ultimate speed, but I think he’ll be more predictable…

  3. Has the path to driving an F1 car become all about money along with some success in the junior racing ??
    Seems like a number of teams now survive on the fat wallets of pretty good drivers and often that once in a generation drivers may miss their chance simply for lack of sponsor funding.
    Its all about MONEY…ask Bernie

    1. Has the path to driving an F1 car become all about money along with some success in the junior racing ??

      Isn’t that how it’s always been?

      1. pretty much, yeah.

      2. Not entirely, It used be only for the very poorest teams, I mean, even Minardi managed to resist enough to give drivers like Webber and Alonso a shot. When a proper historic team like Williams is in this position you know F1 is getting itself into trouble.

        1. And both Webber and Alonso brought some sponsorship when they came to Minardi, so it’s not like they have no experience at all with paying to drive.

          Face it, unless F1 introduces a budget cap, we will always have drivers who must find sponsorship before they can enter F1.

  4. People should give the guy a break, he clearly has talent, you don’t win GP2 races by accident, give him a chance to see how he does before we judge him.

    1. I think this too. If Maldonado turns out to be terrible though he will be eaten alive by the press as will Williams. This is why I don’t really understand the purpose of these comments. Surely it would be best for Williams to just admit that they took a driver because of a paycheque? I suppose though thats an admission that Williams are struggling, which they have been denying for years now

  5. Whats baffling about the statement by Patrick Head for me is if this is being told by Maldnado himself then why doesn’t he just go the whole hog and say he was promised a 2011 seat for his troubles.
    It’s effectiveness is in it’s plausability, although Maldonado & his sponsorships admitted effecting the outcome of the race-seat, he has some sympathy in so much as it’s “The big bad wolf Hulk” V’s “Bullied little Maldonado” But although we all know its not that simple, that will be a lot of peoples perception, Sir Frank & Head have done themselves no favours in being so one-sided in their driver management that Maldono deserves to be hired. Personally I think Sir Frank and Head are guilty at some level, but proving it will be very difficult. Or Maybe this is his last shot. Probably after his bad result with Williams, any team will take him as well. I don’t know. I’m just trying to make some empathy.

  6. He comes with some financial support, but deserves his opportunity on merit.

    Sounds like someone is trying to convince himself!

    1. Well, actually, that’s a little harsh. He does deserve a chance, but think of people like di Grassi who will miss out this year, people who beat Maldonado in 2009. “Even” Romain Grosjean was better than him.

      1. You know, I really hope Grosjean wins the GP2 title or something and gets his chance in F1, I don’t think the awful time he experianced at Renault is his fault. An there were flashes.

        He’s well and truly proven himself this year though, does anyone know whats happening to him next year?

        1. I bet he’ll still be working at the bank! He was still doing that even when he was in F1, incredible really. I think he’s going to stay in sportscar racing unless he pops up by surprise in the last of the teams’ announcements.

      2. I don’t know, the last couple of seasons are littered with drivers like Grosjean and Di Grassi who completed one season, or even just part of one, before being sent on their way and being replaced by another GP2 graduate. It’s difficult to tell who really deserved to have stayed as none of them ever really had long enough to prove themselves.

  7. I think he deserves an opportunity in F1 and if he wasn’t bringing any sponsorship with him I don’t think people would be surprised if he had got a race seat for 2011.

    However I still think that if money wasn’t a factor at all Williams would have probably kept Hulkenberg.

  8. With all those sponsors leaving, we could see a very different livery from Williams in 2011. It’s been mostly the same (blue and white) for the past few seasons! :)

  9. i hope that when the CVC deal is renegotiated in 2013 teams will have more money and pay drivers will be reduced

  10. SennaNmbr1 (@)
    10th January 2011, 18:58

    GP2 champion and tons of sponsorship. It’s win-win for Williams.

  11. I guess this air will clear by the end of 2011 or may be even 2012 when most of the big boys retire & leave the sport. F1 will see fresh faces in the likes of Hulk, Lucas Di Grassi and even Karun….

    Narain’s come back still puzzles me *grin*

  12. With Head’s comments and Michael’s past ones it just seems like Williams are trying to convince themselves more than anything and are getting very wound up. They should just ignore the press as they’ve been in this game long enough but they’re hurting and they know it. Maldonando should be given a chance before he’s written off but it’s going to take a lot for him to show he’s better than Hulkenberg. Williams may need the cash and I really sympathise with them but if Nico ends up without a seat and Maldonando doesn’t deliver then people may be quick to forget their financial situation and as why a potential star is watching on the sidelines.

  13. I am going to postpone judgement on Maldonado until the end of 2011. If he really is as good as Patrick Head claims, then it will make Williams decision to drop Hulkenberg look like genious. If Maldonado turns out to be a flop, then Williams still walk away with millions of dollars worth of sponsorship cash they would not have got with Hulkenberg. Sad but true.

  14. Pay driver is a little too strong description but teams should at least admit that drivers like Maldonado and Petrov wouldn’t be on 2011 grid without financial backing. They instead treat F1 fans like fools.

    1. Well said my friend.

  15. I say give him a chance. He may have been in GP2 for a while but you can’t exactly count that against him. He has a lot of experience in one of the closest series to F1 and he won it pretty convincingly. Don’t forget Hulkenberg’s season was very underwhelming given his CV before F1, but that pole position seems to have clouded people’s judgment.

    1. Totally agree, way everyone keeps talking about Hulkenberg you’d think he’s the next Senna. He was beat most the season by Barrichello. If his team mate was Hamilton or Alonso he would have been completely dominated.

    2. Hulkenberg was one of the very few rookies who actually managed to impress in his first season.

      THAT’s why people say Hulkenberg did a good job.

      At the end of the season at least he was competitive with Barrichello. Now look at Petrov who was still a over a second down in qualifying on petrov in the last few races.

      1. I’m going to disagree on the Petrov part. Renault has a history of focusing on their first driver, so I don’t think Petrov really did that bad a job people might think.

  16. It’s just Williams trying to save face. They’d betetr just stay quiet.

    It’s like Horner trying to explain the situation (how Webber rammed vettel in Turkey, how that front wing really was for Vettel all along, how the drivers are really really treated equally) when all his lies/falsehoods/twisted words just make things worse.

  17. I’m just waiting for the epic battle of chins between him and coulthard

  18. I don’t see what all the fuss is about, frankly. What are Williams supposed to do? Tell the world that Maldonado is a pay driver? Wow, that’ll really cement the friendship, won’t it….

    As for this sort of thing:

    teams should at least admit that drivers like Maldonado and Petrov wouldn’t be on 2011 grid without financial backing.

    I think (for example) a movie company is not going to tell you that they didn’t hire the best actors for the job. They’ll just tell you that Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell are extremely talented. It’s up to you and I to decide if we agree and watch that film. We don’t have any rights beyond that.

    Same goes for Williams. They don’t have to tell us a thing about their deals or finances – nor should we expect them to. They’re not treating the fans like fools, they’re keeping themselves to themselves, same as any business. I do sometimes think, however, that fools may be acting like F1 fans….

    1. Why not just say nothing then?

      They ARE treating F1 fans like fools when they come with nonsense like this.

    2. Your example of movies is not right. Think of it like a Bond movie. Hulk was the new 007. Everybody thought he was very good, the movie did reletivly well and people were looking forward to seeing him in the next film aswell to see the character grow (improve). When the next Bond film is anounced we find our new 007 has been sacked in favor of Maldo, whos acting paled in comparison to hulks when they were in the same film a couple of years ago.

      Now don’t you think James Bond fans would be demanding some answers? Would they be happy with something like “Maldo is going to be a great 007”?

      1. Hilarious! :D

    3. I do sometimes think, however, that fools may be acting like F1 fans….

      Very well said! :P

  19. Tough decision by the team whether they choose Hulk or Maldonado,given the condition of Williams with no wins since 2004 they choose money which will help the team to increase it’s development with the help of Barrichello.

  20. Unless Williams comes up with some kind of a miracle car there is simply no way that Maldonado will make any kind of dent in F1 in 2011. I can’t imagine how he could compete with Red Bull, McClaren or Ferrari and then there is the matter of Scumacher and a proper Mercedes. Add the Renault into the mix and I believe the proof will be in the pudding as pretty much everyone else on the grid will be nothing more than backmarkers.
    Even if I gave Maldonado a BILLION DOLLARS he still has to race against some pretty strong drivers…sometimes miracles do happen and sometimes experts like me are proven wrong. Don’t think its gonna happen.

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