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Pastor Maldonado

Formula 1 driver

Pastor Maldonado
Credit: LAT
Vital statistics for Pastor Maldonado
NationalityVEN
BirthplaceMaracay, Venezuela
Born10 March 1985
Age33
F1 debutAustralian Grand Prix, 2011
Driver number13

Maldonado was initially a racer criticised for crashing, but the Venezuelan has calmed his driving style somewhat. His one race victory in Spain 2012, plus some serious backing, allowed him to leave Williams behind – not what you’d call an amicable parting – and move on to Lotus F1 for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Unfortunately for Pastor, his sponsors ran out of cash at the start of 2016 and he was forced to announce his departure from the team for the time being.

F1 biography

Pastor Maldonado hails from Venezuela, but raced in Europe for his early single seater experience. Participating in the Formula Renault series in Italy, he also raced in Formula Renault events. Formula One gave Maldonado a very early look, as he was granted a test drive with the Minardi team in Italy. It would be several years before he made the step up, however.

In the meantime, he continued racing in the Italian F3000 event, as well as the World Series by Renault. During the latter series, in 2005, he was given a four-race ban for dangerous driving after striking and injuring a marshal. In 2006, he missed out on the Formula Renault 3.5 championship due to a car-related disqualification and in 2007, he signed to drive in the GP2 series.

A broken collarbone hindered his progress in his debut year but he started picking up a string of good results in 2008. In 2010, he finally secured the championship, and F1 started to pay attention again. Maldonado was given a test by the then-Campos Meta team but budgetary constraints saw them opt for another driver. He was signed by Williams F1 for the 2011 Formula One season, making his debut in Australia.

His first year in the sport was a controversial one, as the Venezuelan was involved in several crashes, picked up many penalties, and came under fire for his attitude both before and after the incidents. Williams retained him for the 2012 season, and Maldonado picked up the team’s first pole position for a long while at the Spanish Grand Prix. He went on to convert it to victory, although this was to be the highlight of his time at Williams. Results dropped off dramatically, and by the end of 2013, Maldonado was accusing his team of sabotage and gladly accepting an offer from Lotus for a change in 2014.

The team had less pace than they had the previous year, which left both drivers lacking results. Maldonado secured only one points finish, and retired from several races, finishing the championship 16th overall with just two points to his name. He remained with Lotus for 2015 but was forced to announce his departure from the team ahead of 2016, due to issues with sponsorship payments.

Learn more about Pastor Maldonado with the Pocket F1 Handbook.