Maldonado strikes me as a little erratic. He’s kind of like a young Felipe Massa: accident-prone, though he has started to come good. The main barrier to his entry is the fact that the top three drivers from last year’s GP2 season – Hulkenberg, Petrov and di Grassi – have all been promoted to the main game, so it’s a little difficult to judge how well Maldonado might do. That said, I could see him replacing Pedro de la Rosa at Sauber, Lucas di Grassi at Virgin or taking a seat at the thirteenth team.
I’ve also heard that Hugo Chavez wants a Venezuelan Grand Prix – inspired in part by Maldonado’s successes – to be held on the Isla Margarita. If Maldonado steps up, we may well find ourselves with another South American race, even if Russia is Bernie’s priority right now.