Maldonado: Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not, this is racing

2012 Spanish GP winner Pastor Maldonado is hoisted on to the shoulders of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso

2012 Spanish GP winner Pastor Maldonado is hoisted on to the shoulders of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso

One year ago, Pastor Maldonado was on top of the world in Formula 1, having broken through for his first grand prix victory.

Now returning to Barcelona in 2013, Williams has suffered a major performance slump, and – backmarkers Caterham and Marussia aside – is the only team yet to score a single point this season.

“At the moment we are living hard moments,” Venezuelan Maldonado, 28, said.

But after the first four ‘flyaway’ races of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix is traditionally the scene of a performance jump for many teams, as major upgrade packages are added to the cars.

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35 retires from the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday 17 March 2013.

In Melbourne it was an early shower for Pastor Maldonado

And Williams – and other underperforming teams like McLaren and Sauber – have higher hopes than most that they can make a big step forward this weekend. But Force India team boss Bob Fernley is not so sure.

“Apart from McLaren, who we know will come back and be as strong as always, for the rest of the teams there is not much (development potential) left in these cars,” he told PA Sport.

“We’ve been pretty stable (with the regulations) for the last few years, so there are not big leaps.”

Maldonado agrees that Williams’ task is more complicated than simply bolting on some ‘go faster’ bits.

“I think we need some time,” he said. “The problems we have got are quite big but hopefully step by step we’re going to get there.”

Williams fire in Bareclona seriously dampened victory celebrations

Williams fire in Bareclona

He is not hiding the obvious pain that Williams’ 2012-2013 decline is causing, having cut a noticeably downbeat figure in the paddocks so far this year.

“Sometimes you don’t feel very happy,” Maldonado admitted, “but this is racing, you know. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not and we need to do our best when it’s like that to try to improve, to try to survive.”

This weekend is also the one year anniversary of Williams’ Barcelona freak post-race pit fire, and one team member – mechanic Martin ‘Barney’ Betts – is still yet to fully recover from severe burns.

“Barney, with the injuries he sustained, has had to have a significant time off but it is important that he comes back and is well looked after,” deputy team boss Claire Williams told the Sun newspaper. (GMM)

  • bunko

    Sometimes its a car developed by a former driver that gives you good results. Sometimes its poor development input from a driver from last season that causes nonperformance. :)

  • Lol

    bunko, all F1 designers/engineers say a driver does not assist in any way to design a car or its development. The engineers and designers do by looking at the huge amount of raw data the computers record.

    But you must know it better than them.

  • bunko

    @Lol hahaha! it amazes me that you took a comment with a smiley in the end so seriously. Maybe you’re a Maldonado fan. But IF what you say is true, then I guess teams hiring veteran drivers to help test and develop a car is useless? I guess Caterham’s effort by hiring Kovalainen to test and develop is futile?

  • Hawk

    bs Lol
    so the engineers do not need any driver feedback? raw data is enough, eh.. and what is it that a car is designed with a driver’s driving style in mind, sometimes; or is it only the setup?

  • Apex Assassin

    Lol is full of shit and reads more than knows. Why did Caterham rehire Heikki for example if development drivers aren’t utilized?

  • Not Bernie

    You’ve got to wonder if Maldonado will ever win another race – I was surprised he managed even one.

    Although last year when he was catching Alonso and putting pressure on him I really was shocked. I didn’t think he’d ever have the speed for that. Then he spun, and I wasn’t surprised at all.