While Pastor Maldonado’s former team Williams ply their trade at the sharp end of the Formula 1 field, Lotus are struggling with their Renault powered E22, and despite a trouble packed race weekend in Austria, the Venezuelan is looking forward to the British Grand Prix – at one of his favourite circuits on the calendar.
What are your thoughts of the British Grand Prix?
Pastor Maldonado: I’ve won at Silverstone in the GP2 Series and I’ve always really liked the circuit. I’ve spent so much time in England that it’s like a second home to me, especially as I have family who live very close to the circuit in Oxfordshire. It’s a great event coming mid-season and it always provides an interesting race. It’s always a very special event for the teams based nearby and the support all drivers get there is amazing with some of the most knowledgeable fans in the world. This will be my first home grand prix for Lotus F1 Team so I’m looking forward to racing just down the road from the factory and seeing many familiar faces over the weekend.
What do you think of Silverstone as a circuit?
PM: I think that Silverstone is an amazing track. It has a great history, it’s fast and the change to the most recent layout hasn’t really changed the nature of the track too much. It’s always a special place to visit and you know that you’re always there for the racing as it’s not on the doorstep of a big city. I have always enjoyed racing at Silverstone since my first visit back in 2007. I also have good memories of it as I have had some great races there, including winning in both 2009 and 2010 in the GP2 Series.
Which parts of the circuit do you like in particular?
PM: My favourite corner is Becketts as it is really quick through there. I think the track will suit our car because it’s similar to Barcelona and it’s also very fun to drive with sections like Maggots and Becketts which really test you as a driver.
What about the feeling of racing somewhere which so many teams call home?
PM: Certainly, it’s home for many, many people who work in the paddock and you do get a special feeling there. The support you get from the fans is amazing
What particular challenges could you face at Silverstone?
PM: With the track being quick and the temperatures usually low it is easy to grain the front tyres and this is something we will have to manage and consider when deciding on the pit stop strategy. Certainly, we’re always asking for more power and better reliability this year, and this is something I hope that we can experience in England.
What did you learn in Austria?
PM: The team and Renault Sport F1 hopefully learned quite a lot and for me behind the wheel it was a challenge. There were many issues to manage, but we but we drove through them to get to the end of the race. This year’s cars give you a lot to manage in terms of settings and driving strategies, so there is a lot to focus on when everything is working as it should. There’s even more to focus on when something’s not working the way it should! Quite a few teams were caught out with issues in Austria so it was satisfying for me and the team to get to the end of the race.
What’s the approach to the British Grand Prix?
PM: Like always, just to maximise the package we have and make the very most of every opportunity. Hopefully the high speed corners will work better with our car and it would be great to be back to where we were in Barcelona which is quite a similar circuit to Silverstone. Obviously, at the Barcelona test teams were all running to different programmes, so I don’t think we’re suddenly going to be the fastest car, but I do expect to be further up the order than we have been at recent races. (GP247-Lotus)