Maldonado: Now drivers can make a difference in F1

F1 Fanatic round-up

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Barcelona, 2012In the round-up: Pastor Maldonado says F1 is more like GP2 this year and the driver can make more of a difference.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

I was so scared for my team, says Maldonado (Reuters)

“The season is unpredictable. I think it is more competitive… it has become like a GP2 championship. It becomes very strong, the drivers can make the difference… it’s a bit boring when you see only one car winning.”

Venezuela: racing for the revolution (FT, registration required)

“Although his remarkable victory ?ǣ a first for a Venezuelan ?ǣ is being celebrated by Venezuelans of all stripes, many have questioned why a government which professes to protect the interests of the poor doesn?t spend the money on the likes of hospitals and schools instead.”

Pastor Maldonado defends F1 funding from Venezuela (The Guardian)

“I’m not worried because the whole of the country is happy because of the result, especially because it has come quite soon. From now most of the people are looking forward to Formula One, which is popular in Venezuela.”

A motley crew (F1 Rejects)

“Only one driver was, comparatively speaking, at the beginning of his single-seater journey. He was a 19 year-old Venezuelan driver called Pastor Maldonado who had only had two years in Formula Renault since graduating from karts, but who had won the Italian championship in 2004.”

McLaren pace concerns Jenson Button more than mistakes (The Independent)

“The most important thing is to understand why I didn’t have any pace over the weekend on low and high fuel.”

Raikkonen downplays impact of tyres (Autosport)

“Previously the pit stops were made usually after every 20 laps, while we had less fuel. I think it would have been the same situation with Michelins and Bridgestones if we would have this much fuel as we have now. These tyres are good in qualifying: they have a good grip and all in all they are good tyres.”

Formula One revving up for listing in two weeks? time (City A.M.)

“Formula One?s eagerly anticipated ??6bn flotation in Singapore will take place earlier than expected within the next two to three weeks, City A.M. understands.”

Derek Daly via Twitter

“First pic of Conor Daly testing Sahara Force India F1 car – data aero mapping session in England http://pic.twitter.com/HpZuwqj2

Monaco Grand Prix (Caterham)

Tony Fernandes: “Since the team returned to base I have received a very gracious communication from Jean Todt, thanking our boys for helping put the fire out on Sunday. The actions of the Williams team, people from our team and everyone else who helped out, stopped the situation escalating and it makes me incredibly proud to be part of a sport that shows such bravery and spirit.”

#70 The Flying Lap: Spanish GP debrief (The Flying Lap via YouTube)

The best of Williams (MotorSport)

“After a Schumacher splash ?n? dash, however, it was the same old story: the German closing relentlessly on another win ?ǣ until Hill conjured a second on the last lap to win by 3.4.”

Circuit of the Americas construction update May 17, 2012 (Facebook)

“A aerial view of the circuit. Photo taken May 4.”

x2 Monaco Grand Prix Practice Grandstand 99p All proceeds go to Charity (eBay)

“Due to a very sad family loss we no longer have a use for these tickets. They are for Thursday practice (FP1 and FP2) on May 24th. They are for stand K which is the large stand facing out looking over the harbour. 99p start as the tickets going to use and being enjoyed is the most important thing for us.”

EIE12 Keynote Speaker ?ǣ Sir Jackie Stewart (Rookie Oven)

“For me, as a massive fan of F1 fan, it was fantastic to be in the audience but aside from the amazing motorsport career Sir Jackie is a fantastic businessman, patriotic Scot and international icon. Not bad for a guy classed as ??thick?, wouldn?t you agree?”

Breakfast with Seb! (Replay Motorsport)

“Breakfast with the Monaco pole sitter, winner and world champion. It’s something I’ll never forget and cannot believe just how lucky I was!”

Comment of the day

Chris Goldsmith has an interesting choice of driver to partner Fernando Alonso at Ferrari:

I’ve voted Heikki Kovalainen. I?d say Perez, but in my opinion it’s too soon for him as he?s still making some mistakes. He needs to earn his apprenticeship in a lower team where he can improve his driving before the spotlight of being a top team is turned on him.

I?d love to see Kubica back, but who knows if he?s going to be fit, and he hasn?t driven a wheel in anger in two years now. With the best will in the world, it?s not a chance I would be taking, personally.

Heikki, while not immediately an obvious choice, has really shown some promise while driving for ‘Loterham’. He?s consistently outperformed his team mates, and shown a really solid consistency. He?s also managed to put in great performances despite not being in a good car, in a manner frankly not that unlike Alonso himself. If he?s able to show that level of motivation driving a car which has no hope of driving for points, imagine what he might be able to achieve in a car which could fight for wins.

It’d make or break him one way or the other, but I think he?s driving much better than he ever did for McLaren or Renault, and deserves to get a chance at the sharp end of the grid. Let?s face it, out of the options available, he?s one of the few proven race winners.
Chris Goldsmith

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On this day in F1

Ferrari driver Piero Taruffi scored his only world championship win in the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten 60 years ago today.

His team mate Alberto Ascari missed the opening round of the championship as he was competing in the Indianapolis 500, which also counted towards the title.

Swiss driver Rudi Fischer was second in another Ferrari ahead of Jean Behra for Gordini.

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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69 comments on Maldonado: Now drivers can make a difference in F1

  1. Jake (@jleigh) said on 18th May 2012, 0:05

    I’m starting to think Maldonado could become very annoying very quickly. OK, you won one race, don’t get too ahead of yourself!

    • nackavich (@nackavich) said on 18th May 2012, 0:52

      @jleigh I really wouldn’t say its his fault he’s being interviewed or talked about so much after he won his first race. You can’t blame him for having to do ‘conference calls’ or having stories published about how important his win was for Venezuela after he won his first Grand Prix.
      Remember he DID hold off a certain someone who most drivers consider to be the best on the grid at the moment.. even at his home race.
      That was like walking into a bull ring while wearing a red shirt and slapping the bull on the a**!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 18th May 2012, 1:04

      I was about to suggest he might need a new larger helmet when I read the headline but reading the article it’s really just a part of his “praise the tyres” duty.

      PS. Thanks Keith for not going with the headline ” Maldonado likes tyres.”

      • mitchibob (@mitchibob) said on 18th May 2012, 2:16

        Enjoying these comments. Made me chuckle!

        Surely both Maldonado and Senna are pay drivers? One of them had to get lucky sooner or later with the funding they’re bringing in between them?

        Let’s face it, we’ve had a few tests in Spain, a few flyaway races, a test at Mugello, and a few upgrades all around. Still early days. But then you’d have to expect the budgets of the non-driver funded teams to stretch to keeping developments going throughout the season, rather than perhaps gearing up for a good performance at a circuit that the car had already done significant laps at.

        I might be wrong, but I seriously doubt Maldonado will get another win this season, or even another top 5 finish. Far more mature drive than I ever expected from him this weekend, and perhaps Williams have found a sweet spot, but I have my doubts.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 18th May 2012, 9:21

      Maybe his words were not that smart…

    • Bradley Downton (@bradley13) said on 18th May 2012, 10:54

      I have to agree with you totally there @jleigh

  2. snowman (@snowman) said on 18th May 2012, 0:15

    Of course Kimi’s going to downplay the effect of the tyres as Lotus has been about the only team to have had a handle on them since winter testing.

    Ya Pastor, the driver can really make a difference now by changing his driving style into tyre saving mode for every lap of the race(if you want to call it that). I would rather a boring race with the best driver coming out on top than an exciting lottery with whoever hooks their tyres up on the day coming out on top.

    Interesting comments by Peter and Scrabs at the end about Schumacher’s crash. It’s a pity the stewards don’t have their heads screwed on too.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 18th May 2012, 3:32

      @snowman

      Of course Kimi’s going to downplay the effect of the tyres as Lotus has been about the only team to have had a handle on them since winter testing.

      Really? how so?

      • snowman (@snowman) said on 18th May 2012, 9:08

        @Fer no.65

        There drop of times on the tyres have never been out of control on the Lotus(apart from Kimi falling of the cliff which is different)) unlike most other teams who have been left scratching their heads at one point or other wondering where their pace went to. Kimi and Grosjean(when he stopped crashing) were always at the sharp end near the end of the race.

        The in depth winter testing and race analysis was from these two
        intelligentf1/</a
        abulafiaf1

  3. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 18th May 2012, 0:15

    Hope Maldonado is right. This year does seem to be that way.

    If you put a great lap together you can end up in a great position on the grid. Look at Kobayashi in China, Ricciardo in Bahrain and Maldonado in Spain. But get it wrong and you’ll end up near the back like Massa in Australia, Massa in Malaysia and Massa in Spain.

  4. HoHum (@hohum) said on 18th May 2012, 0:54

    So all the drivers are being rolled out to say nice things about Pirelli tyres.
    Thank goodness we have someone still racing who is less worried about his career and reputation than he is about our sport, and is not afraid to speak out .

    • @hohum, could you do me a favor and clarify your position on the Pirelli tires? I’m not sure you’ve conveyed it quite clearly enough. ;-)

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 18th May 2012, 1:52

        How much time do you have?

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 18th May 2012, 2:24

          Actually , thanks for the opportunity;
          Even though I enjoyed F1 racing before pit stops became part of the race and still it was possible to have 5 different cars and 5 different drivers win 5 consecutive races I am not calling for a return to those days ( I wouldn’t complain though).
          My main problem with THIS YEARS tyres is that they have UNDONE all the good work achieved by the regs. in reducing the effect of turbulent airflow on a following car. After many years of trying the rulemakers seem to have eliminated all the loopholes that clever aerodynamycists have found to make their car vastly superior to the others, with less dependence on aero the cars are finding different setups to achieve very similar lap times and we should be seeing great car on car battles in close racing, instead we see that the route to success is finding a gap in the traffic (preferably in p1) driving as slow and smooth as possible to maintain your gap and doing your passing with pit strategy, this is necessary because every lap you spend trying to pass a car takes a couple of laps worth of tyre-life away.

    • snowman (@snowman) said on 18th May 2012, 9:20

      Webber also criticized the tyres after Spain on the BBC forum saying if “you push you have to pit” and you can’t use all your Kers because you can’t drive much slower.

      It’s weird, all the drivers look like they have been told not to say anything and all the media are massively in favour of the tyres. Very little mention of what Webber said anywhere and after Schumi’s comments the media tried to do a character assassination on him saying he was complaining because of a bad race when he actually had climbed up to 10th after starting from the back!

      • John H (@john-h) said on 18th May 2012, 11:17

        It’s certainly along way from Senna pushing beyond the limits of the car every lap isn’t it? The point is though, that for every Senna there was a Prost – someone equally as competitive but driving in a different ‘thinking mans’ way. The sport allowed for drivers to succeed with differing styles, and that was what made it great.

        Now we don’t have the mix. Hamilton for example has had to adapt (which he has done very well last race) into a tyre conserver in order to finish well. He can’t push every lap and just make one more stop than the smoother drivers. We say that the top drivers should ‘adapt’ like for example Alonso has done brilliantly, but its basically making everyone drive in the same way… and that for me equals boredom no matter how much of a glossy show with a million ‘overtakes’ the records it is.

        Then there’s the random factor with these tyres in finding the sweet spot. Ten add the marbles that mean that no-one can try different lines through the corner and what you basically have is scalextric (with magnatraction) with dad’s hand switching the cars over now and again.

        Is anyone getting this? Oh well, I feel better now at least ;)

  5. q85 said on 18th May 2012, 1:04

    i think i put a shout in for Heikki for ferrari a few days back.

  6. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 18th May 2012, 1:24

    He says this right after he wins a race. The guy is a genius!
    Anyway, I hope he’s right. This season, we can really see who’s the better on the grid.

  7. Julian (@julian) said on 18th May 2012, 3:03

    “now the driver can make the difference.”

    Hasn’t that always been the case though? It’s just more accentuated this year because the cars are so much closer in terms of pace.
    Last year Vettel was making the difference and no one, not even his team mate, could keep up.
    It wasn’t Red Bull who were dominating last year, it was Vettel.
    If Reb Bull were locking out the front row and getting 1-2’s every race then sure Pastor has a point, but that wasn’t the case last year.
    It was one driver who had an exceptional season and I think Pastors comments take away from that a little bit.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 18th May 2012, 3:23

      Indeed, the RB6 enjoyed a much bigger advantage over the season than did the RB7. Just look at the qualifying advantages Red Bull often had in 2010 compared to 2011 when they were much smaller. The McLaren was definitely capable of achieving pole more often than it did last year, but Vettel always had that something extra.

      That said, I do think Maldonado’s right that there’s more parity across the grid this year in terms of car performance, which should let us see a few more drivers shine than in recent seasons.

  8. OOliver said on 18th May 2012, 3:14

    I wonder why people look down on Maldonado. He is a very fast driver. Now Williams have a car capable of winning, he is exploiting it. And the driver can make a difference especally when you don’t drive for a team that will cut its nose to spite its lips. I wish you and the, no nonsense, Sir Williams even more success in your outings.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 18th May 2012, 11:24

      I think he has made some very good points actually, but people look down on him I believe due to three reasons:

      * The incident at Spa last year
      * The sometimes overly harsh ‘pay driver’ tag.
      * The fact his money meant that Williams didn’t sign Hulk for another year.

      These reasons do not make him a bad driver, far from it it appears.

      • + he nearly mowed down some marshals in GP2 for ignoreing red flags.

        I would love to hear franks ‘frank’ opinion of Maldonado driving into Hamilton at Spa. The amount of work and effort that goes into making these cars and hes driving into people like its tin-top racing.

        It’s only a matter of time before his anger/mentality causes a big accident.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th May 2012, 20:15

            Nonsense. You can dislike him if you want (I’m not a big fan if him either) but that doesn’t make him this huge danger to the racetrack who will cause a big accident.

          • “Nonsense. You can dislike him if you want (I’m not a big fan if him either) but that doesn’t make him this huge danger to the racetrack who will cause a big accident.”

            No?

            You dont know that hes previously had his licence revoked for ignoring flags, crashing and injuring a marshall? (and thats beside the inncodent i posted above)

            The guy is a disgrace, a horrible temperment, and dosnt belong at the pinnicle of motoracing. These people are role models for up-n-comers. The last thing young racers need to see, is those at the top _purposly_ crashing into other cars just because they are angry. The worst thing about the Spa inncodent is that the stewards didnt stamp all over him for it. Motorsport is dangerous enough without having cars ram into you on _slow down_ laps.

            No, i wont get over that, even if most people have.

            Its amazing what having one good race result does for your reputation.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th May 2012, 22:08

            That’s why pencils have erasers. People do things that they may later regret, but can learn from any mistakes they make, and become more mature.

            You’re not in a position to be judging who belongs or doesn’t belong in the sport. It’s up to the FIA to judge whether someone is a danger to others, and in 2012, Pastor Maldonado holds a super licence and is entitled to race in the pinnacle of motorsport.

            And regarding the “one good race result”, it depends on where he goes from here. If he continues getting good results, his reputation will improve. If this win remain his only good result, he will be seen as a one-hit-wonder.

  9. Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 18th May 2012, 3:20

    Can’t say I agree with the MotD. Yes, it’s a strange option.

    No, it’s not a good one.

    Heikki’s been matched by Petrov this year. Petrov. Petrov. And when I say matched I mean more than matched. Sure, he’s better now than he was back in his McLaren stint, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He hasn’t suddenly turned into one of the best drivers on the grid.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 18th May 2012, 6:31

      I would agree with you.

      Heikki has had his shot at a top team and has failed miserably. Heikki seems like a driver that can only perform in a midfield car against average teammates, but seems incapable of raising his game in a top team. The fact that Petrov has matched him this year says a lot of whether he deserves a shot at Ferrari

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th May 2012, 7:15

        I am not too sure of that @todfod and @pamphlet, I do think its hard to tell exactly, at least for us. But teams do have far more information at hand to rate a driver on.

        We should not forget that everyone works to move on and improve, or anyhow change over time. Just look at Massa how he has changed from making many mistakes, to the top level achieved to how he is struggling now. I really do think that Heikki came in unprepared for what Renault, and then McLaren put him up with but is a far stronger driver now.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 18th May 2012, 8:08

          @bascb I agree to a certain extent… and I would even write off his 2008 season performance as a part of the learning curve. But he was equally poor if not poorer in 2009.

          The point is that there are a lot of drivers who in there 2nd or 3rd season in the sport are good enough to drive for a top team, and they deserve the same opportunity that Heikki had

        • Girts (@girts) said on 18th May 2012, 8:38

          I think the circumstances often get forgotten when underperformances of drivers like Kovalainen, Fisichella, Frentzen and Barrichello at the respective top teams are discussed. They all joined teams that each already had a superstar, which clearly made their situation much more difficult. Fisichella joined Alonso’s Renault, Kovalainen joined Hamilton’s McLaren and so on. Kovalainen is a great driver, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And that is why I don’t want him to go to Alonso’s Ferrari, that would most likely mean making the same mistake again.

  10. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 18th May 2012, 5:43

    Y’know, Goldsmith’s comment actually seems to make a lot of sense. Consider Jenson Button’s time in the wilderness. Most would agree he came out the other end a more complete and motivated driver.

  11. OOliver said on 18th May 2012, 7:21

    Of course Button can’t be bothered about mistakes because he has only had one problem in 5 races, while is team mate has had about 7 or 8 in the same 5 races.

    Well news for you Button, your fast car can easily be last if you don’t sort out those mistakes, true story.
    Saying Hamilton should be happy with 8th, a driver is doing all in his power to win races, and mistakes are wrecking his chances and you say he should be happy with 8th!!!!!, this shows exactly what is wrong with Mclaren and is quite patronising, likewise….”Yes, Lewis did a fantastic job in qualifying, and the
    team did well to produce a car like that.”… Did it occur t him that Hamilton probably out drove the car?
    Ferrari is in shambles, but they are grabbing every opportunity until they sort their car out. RBR are grabbing every opportunity to win points until they understand their car. Same goes for Lotus, Williams, Sauber etc.
    If uou wait until you have a faster car before you sort out blatant team errors, then you are out of the championship.

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 18th May 2012, 7:46

      Did it occur to him that Hamilton probably out drove the car?

      Please stop that ********. There is no sutch thing, He might have brought the maximum out of the car, not more…

      And another thing, did it occur to anyone, that both in Bahrein and Spain the track got colder from friday to sunday? When the track is hot, something like 45 celsius, Button is actually faster than Hamilton, when the track is colder like 32 celsius, Hamilton can save tyres all day long, and still have pace. Just to clarify, the first case is Spain FP2, the second is the race.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th May 2012, 8:20

      Saying Hamilton should be happy with 8th

      It’s pretty obvious that he means Hamilton should be happy at having finished eighth given that he started 24th.

      • OOliver said on 18th May 2012, 9:34

        Anyone who has an ambition will not be happy with 8th position.
        Kimi started 8th and finished 3rd yet was disappointed with his result.
        The sole error Button suffered had no effect on his finishing position thats why he isn’t bothered about team errors because it maes him look good as it only affects his team mate. That is a selfish statement.
        If Button is not bothered, the team owners and sponsors should be, because Mclaren should be leading both championships with all the points they have needlessly thrown away. Button should should put more effort in finding grip.

  12. Hallard (@hallard) said on 18th May 2012, 8:02

    I love the use of “Loterham” in the COTD.

    Not only will I start using that, but I would like to submit “Renotus” for inclusion in our lexicon as well :-)

  13. Girts (@girts) said on 18th May 2012, 8:06

    I don’t think that Maldonado or the Williams team should be condemned for accepting funding from the Venezuelan government. Yes, it’s an undemocratic state and, as this case shows, the ‘socialism’ is just a mask that its criminal leader has hidden behind. However, supporting sports is one of the best ways to spend money in countries lead by corrupt regimes. The Venezuelan people are obviously happy for Pastor’s successes and that’s the most important thing.

    • Mark Sullivan said on 18th May 2012, 19:34

      @Girts, If we apply your logic, F1 should not be racing in several of the countries where they race now.

      Venezuela an “undemocratic state”?

      Last time I checked, unlike some F1 venues, Venezuela has very frequent elections, a very vocal opposition, most commercial media is very anti-government, they don’t censor the Internet, etc. You never hear of “genocides”, mass state-sponsored killings, or things like that out of Venezuela, do you?

      The fact that they’ve voted the same guy for like 10 years, don’t mean its not “democratic”. Tony Blair was PM for 10 years, and that didn’t make the UK undemocratic.

      Now, Chaves can be a pain in the a$$, judging by what the commercial media says about him, but the poor in his country seem to love him.

      There is nothing immoral for Williams to partner with a sponsor that supports a driver as good as Pastor.

      SFW again has demonstrated to be a master at what he does.

  14. Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 18th May 2012, 8:24

    I can’t agree with all this Heikki Kovalainen to Ferrari suggestions popping up, we’ve seen him in a top team and he can’t hack it, hence why he driving for a team toward the back. The whole reason Heikki is performing so well right now is for that exact reason; driving for Caterham doesn’t have nearly as much pressure, he can relax and get the best out of the car as a result, put him back at the front of the grid and we would get 08/09 all over again..Heikki is good right where he is and I don’t mean that in anyway disrespectfully. Hamilton or Perez is the way Ferrari should be looking.

  15. dennis (@dennis) said on 18th May 2012, 9:04

    I was willing to disagree with Michael Schumacher’s comments on the tyres, however, while I don’t care for the way they have to be driven to get good results, I do see all these surprise winners (or almost like Perez) this season with a grain of salt. I don’t want to take away from Maldonando’s or Rosberg’s victories, because they were flawless efforts, but I do feel like they were also fabricated by the tyres this season, especially considering the other results.

    I’m not sure if I’m entirely right with this, but it seems you need a boat-load of luck with the setup to get a shot at the win. I was hoping Mercedes finally got the hang of it after China, but in the last races there were again all over the place. Vettel, with a few laps where Kimi could have made it, was dominating in Bahrain, but was nowhere near the podium all weekend long in Spain. I am convinced that Maldonado won’t be fighting for the victory every race now (Monaco could be an exception due to the nature of the track).

    I love the variety in winning cars this season, but when the teams don’t understand what’s going on and basically luck decides instead of doing the best job with setup work, then I don’t think I like where this is going.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 18th May 2012, 11:40

      @dennis Just realised you’ve said basically what I have done on the next page.

      It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how the rest of the season pans out. If we still have the amount of random luck for the rest of the season what kind of F1 world champion are we going to end up with? Perhaps we need more thn 20 races just to even out the luck more!

      • dennis (@dennis) said on 18th May 2012, 12:30

        @john-h
        So far I think Alonso and Vettel both outperformed their team mates (Alonso even more obviously than Vettel) and scored most consistently. I think if this goes on until the end of the season we might see a champion who made most out of the given situation due to constistent point scoring.
        And it might as well be Alonso, even if he doesn’t have a car able to win races.

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