Pastor Maldonado airborne

Whatever happened to Pastor Maldonado?

Pastor Maldonado airborne

Pastor Maldonado competed in five Formula 1 seasons, mostly remembered for crashing a lot, however, he did score one famous Grand Prix victory which etched his name in the sport’s history forever.

The Venezuelan, now 38, made his F1 debut at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix. He competed in 96 GPs, three seasons as a Williams driver and two seasons for Lotus. Backed by his homeland until economic chaos engulfed the country and put an end to sponsorship and a drive in the top flight.

Nevertheless, apart from a website dedicated to monitoring every time he crashed, Maldonado did win the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix in style. Qualifying on pole, he went on to deliver a stellar drive fending off F1 giants Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

In what has become an iconic F1 image, the pair hoisted Maldonado onto their shoulders during the podium ceremony in Barcelona to acknowledge that the better man won that day. That weekend Pastor shone bright like never before or after. The 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was his final F1 race.

Thereafter Maldonado pretty much fell off the F1 radar, he did compete in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with success, winning his class on occasion at Le Mans, Daytona and Spa-Franorchamps.

This week, Maldonado ‘resurfaced’ when interviewed him, asking how it felt when his F1 journey ended: “It was tough at the beginning but at a certain point of my career, I realised that Formula 1 was not forever.”

Maldonado: I had the best time of my life in motorsport

maldonado alonso raikkonen

He revealed how he might’ve signed with Sauber, but he wanted a winning car and that would not happen with the Swiss team that is a perennial F1 midfield player.

Maldonado recalled: “It was tricky because I felt I was in a place where I deserved a good car to be consistently in the points. Sponsors wanted a guarantee of results… It was very difficult to find these guarantees!

“And, honestly, I started to look around at my family, on a normal life, and say ‘thank God every day for the amazing experience I had. I really had an amazing experience. And I have my family, my health, I’m young, so I started just to accept that.”

Of his 2018/2019 WEC season, Maldonado said: “I had the best time of my life in motorsport. We were having a lot of fun delivering, fighting, winning races. We won Daytona, we won Spa. Being on the podium in so many other races, we just missed Le Mans, which is still maybe the only race I would like to race for victory at a certain point!”

No longer racing, Maldonado still yearns: “My fans still support me and try to get me to the races” and adds that they say, “We are missing you in Formula 1 because of your character, your personality!”

Maldonado: I tell you, I miss it every day!

The reason he is off the motorsport radar by choice said Maldonado: “We have a family holding, we do some investments around the world.” But adds: “I tell you, I’m missing it every day! I used to travel daily, go to PR events, media events, sponsor events, training, testing, go-karting, racing.

“I’m missing this active life. I still have a super active life and all my friends say ‘Oh my God, how can you behave in this way?’ And I tell them every day, ‘This is nothing for me!’

“And maybe in a certain point in my life I would like to get back to motorsport, maybe, in a different role, because this is my passion. Maybe I’d like to manage a team, with the whole experience and the network I have.

“To have the same adrenalin and same good feeling of competition in my sport, because it is my sport. And it will be my sport until the last day of my life,” declared Maldonado.