Drive-through penalty collector and hoarder of front-wing shrapnel Pastor Maldonado is eyeing a return to Formula One next season. The Venezuelan gained a reputation during his five year career for being reckless due to his regular on-track incidents. Data based on penalties Between 2011 and 2015 showed that Maldonado picked up 29 penalties in total, with his nearest competitor, Romain Grosjean, on 13. He’s an incident magnet!
Maldonado got a five-year stretch in the sport thanks to PDVSA, a state oil tycoon who backed him with £46m a year. He was a pay driver without question, despite his against the odds win for Williams at the Spanish GP in 2012. The achievement of that victory has since been buried beneath a sea of broken carbon fibre.
After failing to secure an Indycar seat this year, he recently told Autosport:
“I really want to have my second chance because I still feel I have a lot to do in F1. My plan is to return to Formula 1. It was not too bad to stay away for one year as it has given me time to reflect. We have started conversations with teams and we are trying to negotiate something for next year.”
Maldonado was seen lurking around at the Monaco GP, potentially eyeing a Manor seat that may be vacated by Rio Haryanto in July.
Maldonado deserved his chance as the newly crowned GP2 champion back in 2011, but his prolonged stay after his debut season wasn’t based on form, but finance. Hopefully, if any seat does open up at Manor this season, it will be given to a promising driver on the grounds of race-craft and pace, not purely fiscal backing. The same goes for 2017.