Backed by the state-controlled oil company PDVSA, 27-year-old Maldonado expressed relief late last year when socialist incumbent Chavez was re-elected.
“Long live democracy!” the Williams driver had exclaimed on Twitter.
But Chavez is yet to return from Cuba, where he has reportedly been undergoing treatment for cancer and a severe lung infection.
It is being argued by his opponents that if he cannot return for his scheduled inauguration on Thursday, he may have to hand in his presidency as per the constitutional laws.
The Associated Press reports that Maldonado, alongside other Venezuelan athletes, attended a church in Caracas and prayed that “very soon he’s here with all of us”.
Subbed by AJN.