Pastor Maldonado has warned his F1 rivals to expect more of his robust racing style in 2013, having realised the success it has brought him over the years.
The Venezuelan broke through as the top flight's latest first-time winner when he triumphed from pole position in last year's Spanish Grand Prix, taking Williams back to the top of the podium for the first time since Juan Montoya won in Brazil back in 2004, but has also attracted criticism over his propensity for contact.
While Lotus rival Romain Grosjean was suspended for the Italian Grand Prix after a series of first lap incidents, it was Maldonado who was adjudged to have been the more heavily penalised of the pair during 2012, but the Williams driver insists that he has no plan to change his aggressive style, having seen it bring him success in the lower formulae, including multiple wins on the streets of Monaco and the 2010 GP2 Series crown.
“Yes, I've had run-ins with other drivers, not only now, but in the past,” he was quoted as telling Spanish sports newspaper Marca
, “But I have won in each of the categories in which I have competed and, every time I walk down the hallway in my house and see everything I've achieved with this style, I think I should continue.”
While his Barcelona victory provided the season's high point for Williams in 2012, Maldonado also went a long time without adding to his tally, and the Grove team only improved on its 2011 showing by one place in the constructors' rankings. The Venezuelan, who will be partnered by rookie Valtteri Bottas this year, has already suggested that Williams needs to build on the strong foundations provided by the FW34 by adding both 'speed and innovation', but insists that he will continue to give his all in order to help the erstwhile frontrunner continue its recovery from the nadir of 2011.
“Every year we are improving and [in 2013] it will be a better car," he enthused, “It's never easy to give 100 per cent at all times, but it gives me strength to keep going because you can always improve, always give more."
Maldonado's off-season has already seen him marry journalist Gabriele Tarkanyi in their native Venezuela, but his attention is currently being taken by the ailing health of president Hugo Chavez, who is recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba. Chavez has been a long-time backer of the country's motorsport stars via state oil company PDVSA, which largely bankrolls Maldonado's seat at Williams.