'The simulator only had a few circuits, because it cost €20,000 per circuit'

11-02-2021 19:23 | Updated: 11-02-2021 19:49
by GPblog.com
F1 News
'The simulator only had a few circuits, because it cost €20,000 per circuit'

Pastor Maldonado, also - or perhaps better - known as Crashtor Maldonado, didn't exactly have the most glorious Formula One career. However, his two seasons at Lotus in 2014 and 2015 took the crown.

Choice fell on Lotus

Maldonado made his debut at Williams in 2011 and even managed to win the Spanish Grand Prix in 2012. For 2014, the Venezuelan was looking for a new team. "At the time I had two options: Force India and Lotus," he told Motorsport.com. In the end, he went for Lotus. "It was a very logical choice. They had big names as sponsors, as well as brands with an interest in my country."

However, when he joined his new team in January, it turned out to be a much less good choice. "Between the end of November and the beginning of January it had become a very different team. Eric Boullier had left the team, everyone was gone," Maldonado said. "There were few people, there was a lot of stress and we didn't know what to do. The simulator was stopped because there was no money to reactivate it. And in the simulator there were only two or three circuits uploaded, because each circuit cost 20,000 euros."

Car not starting

Lotus drove with Renault engines that season. The switch to the hybrid V6 turbo engines did the engine supplier no favours. "Half of the season we didn't make it to the finish because of structural, mechanical problems or power sources that broke down themselves. It was not that we were slow, but that the engine did not even start. That weighs heavily on a team and it was not nice to be there at that time."

Transition to Renault factory team

In 2016, the team changed from Lotus to the Renault factory team, which also marked the end of Maldonado's F1 career. "When the team became Renault, I knew I couldn't stay," Maldonado acknowledges. "But we didn't understand, one day they said yes and the next day it was no. It was always a mess."

One of the new drivers Renault contracted for 2016 also failed to meet with Maldonado's approval. "We didn't understand anything, they chose [Jolyon] Palmer as a driver... It's unbelievable, even if he brings money. Some very bad decisions were made, both about the car and the drivers and the technical staff."

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