Maldonado Pay Driver?

This topic contains 26 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Icthyes 6 years, 4 months ago.

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    I’d like to ask this question to everyone in the F1fanatic community – Why is Pastor Maldonado a so called “Pay driver”? Pastor impressed me with his qualifying lap at Barcelona, and he’s now again in the top 10 at Monaco constantly outqualifying his experienced teammate Rubens Barrichello. I’m not a fan of Maldonado but I think “pay driver” is an unfair title towards him.

    Looking at some of his past achievements:

    2004 Italian Formula Renault Winner

    2009 Euroseries 3000 Season Winner

    2010 Season GP2 Series Winner – He beat Sergio Perez.

    Not bad for a so called pay driver, is it?



    Because he brings a large sum of money with him, and its a well known fact that at the moment, Williams needs money. So people can jump to the conclusion that he is given a seat for his money. There’s no doubting that he has talent, but he’s not that special. How many seasons did it take him to win a GP2 championship? How many times has he crashes this season? It may just be a season to get comfortable with the car, but it’s been quite rough for him so far.



    We need to look at what a “pay driver” actually is. In itself, the term pay driver refers to a driver to pays for their F1 seat either by his own posessions or by bringing sponsors. That definition matches Maldonado very much. While he has shown talent, his Venezuelan money is a major part in him having that seat.

    Now we must enter lexical semantics, because the bigger question is the inherent negative connection of the term “pay driver”, mainly caused by questionable F1 careers such as Deletraz or Lavaggi (although they have shown at least a basic level of talent after their F1 career) and the lack of insight into F1 business at said time, causing a disregarding attitude for and/or lack of knowledge of more successful drives who had money involved.

    To put it short: describing Maldonado as a “pay driver” is, from the mere literal meaning of the term, not incorrect. The inherent negative connection with pay drivers, however, may make describing him as such a bit unjust. So, if one is using “pay driver” as an insult to him, it is unfair. If it is merely used to describe facts, it’s acceptable.


    “How many times has he crashes this season?”

    Look at Massa in 2001 or Rosberg in 2006.

    Yeah I agree, Maldonado has been much more of a stellar – But saying that he only reached F1 due his money is simply unfair IMO.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    The meaning of “pay driver” has changed, least of all because there’s only about half a dozen drivers who don’t bring sponsorship to their respective team.

    Because of the structure of feeder series and the demand for a superlicence in order to be able to compete in Formula 1, a driver cannot simply buy their way into the sport. They has to show some degree of talent before Formula 1 teams will even start considering them. Money certainly helps their cause, but if a sponsor wants to get into Formula 1, they tend to back the promising talent. For example, if you had tens of millions of dollars to invest in a GP2 driver with the aim of getting him into Formula 1 so that you could get increased brand exposure, would you back Romain Grosjean or Plamen Kralev?



    to be fair, he hasn’t crashed that much in F1

    the reason people are calling him a pay driver is because the man he replaced was bringing no money to the team through sponsership


    Prisoner Monkeys

    And because people think Hulkenberg still deserved a seat with the team despite his “I won’t bring any sponsorship” attitude at a time when he knew the team needed money.



    Great drive from him today. Really gutted for Pastor.



    I think today he proved he isnt just there for the money. Shame a typically stupid Hamilton move ruined it for him.



    He looks like he has improved much after the first races, reaching the Q3 on two occasions and running 6th on the hardest track of the calendar.



    He certainly performed favourably compared to Barry today, but we’ve always known that he is a specialist at Monaco. I’m still not convinced, hopefully some other GP2 driver will have a pot of gold to bring to Williams next year.


    Ned Flanders

    He is a pay driver, because he has finacial backing from Hugo Chavez, and without that he certainly wouldn’t be at Williams, and probably wouldn’t be in F1 at all. Clearly though he is a talented pay driver- there is such a thing, Fernando Alonso would be the perfect example.

    He was really impressive today, and it was a shame that Hamilton punted him off when he was set for points. But one swallow doesn’t make a summer (or two, if you count Barcelona), so he’ll have to keep these good performances up in the next few races if he wants to establish himself in F1



    I’m with Ned. Whatever talent he has, it didn’t get him his seat. Money did, which is why people deride him as a pay driver rather than a driver with sponsorship money.

    Too early to judge him yet though he’s going in the right direction.



    Almost all drivers who get into F1 take money with them at the beginning of his careers. Even the talented ones, like Schumacher and Alonso did it in the past.

    Maldonado and Perez where 1st and 2nd of the main feeder series, why shouldn’t they deserve to move on to F1? IMO the only reason why they are portrayed as “pay-drivers” is because they came from non traditional countries, and the elitist world of F1 doesn’t accept it very easily.


    Ned Flanders

    Er no, Perez and Maldonado are labelled as pay drivers because they bring sponsorship deals, it’s as simple as that. Perez brings Telmex money, Maldonado brings PDVSA money. They could be from Venezuela, Germany, Jamaica or Djibouti, I don’t see why it should make a difference.

    I can only speak for myself, but I certainly don’t use the term as a judgement of their abilities. I think some people still see it as it was meant back in the 90’s and early 00’s, a derogatory term for rubbish drivers who bought themselves into an F1 seat they did not deserve, like Yoong, Lavaggi, Deletraz etc. Nobody’s saying that Maldonado and Perez belong in this category

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