Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Who is this guy? Defending the indefensible // Pastor Maldonado is not the first man to upset his fellow drivers

Published by Jordan F1

Jody Scheckter in is Tyrell
Credit: Gill Foto / Creative Commons

"This madman is a menace to himself and everybody else and does not belong in F1." - Emerson Fittipaldi.

Well, all this sounds familiar does it now? Let us ban a certain driver on an English team forever from F1 as he is a menace to other drivers. Except in this case the driver came from McLaren!

Yup McLaren. This driver from a country in the Southern hemisphere had a reputation for being wild and crashing even before he entered Formula One, but if he did keep the car between the edges of the track for the entire race then points would surely follow.

Twice the time available

It has been 30 races into the career of this driver and he has won three races in total. Mind you, three years have passed and a very significant event happened to this driver which changed his attitude forever. Now 30 races are completed in just one and a half seasons so you have to wonder what happens to a driver if he has twice the time available to mature as a person after being able to reflect on a very significant event.

The event in question was the death of François Cevert at Watkins Glen. "From then on all I was trying to do in Formula One was save my life," he said.

This quote came from the mouth of Jody Scheckter. Before and maybe during his time at Tyrrell he was even more notorious than Pastor Maldonado for ruining people's races, to the effect that McLaren had to bench their driver for four events as a punishment for one of F1's most famous multi-car crashes, at Silverstone in 1973. If McLaren had not done so, the chances where excellent that Jody would have been banned from F1 for good. A man, who within five years of his 31st Formula One start would be a World Champion for Ferrari.

World Champion someday

Am I saying that Maldonado is the next Jody Scheckter? Of course not! By my calculations, Maldonado still has about seven more cars to crash into, just to equal Scheckter's carnage of 12 wrecked cars at Silverstone 1973 alone, then smash into Sebastian Vettel in another incident, before Maldonado comes anywhere near the "South-African Wild Man".

Oh, you mean Maldonado as a World Champion some day? I do not know, four years is an awful long time in F1, enough to calm down your aggressiveness, and sharpen your skills as a driver. I do know for sure that when Jody joined Tyrrell, I would have had serious doubts about him being a World Champion someday, and I could have imagined him getting the boot sooner rather than later.

I wrote this post a while ago before Maldonado crashed into a curb during a demo lap in Venezuela. And while laughing at Maldonado I could not help but think of myself looking silly by comparing Maldonado to a Formula One champion even though Scheckter was as bad as Maldonado was in his beginning.

Fortunately Lukeh at Gridwalk Talk came to my rescue by comparing Maldonado to Ayrton Senna! Now before you say he is crazy he does bring up the biggest reason why I dislike Senna, and for that matter Schumacher - their readiness to crash into their closest rival to secure a championship.

As for Scheckter being horrible in his early days here is a clip of his most famous bit of work.

So will Maldonado see the light and calm down as a driver, figuring out where he can pass and keep the car on the track, or will crashing into everyone and everybody become a preferred race tactic?

If poor defenseless kerbing can fall victim to Maldonado, his rivals are fair game! More likely, Maldonado might be removed from F1, and that may be a pity.