Pastor Maldonado has been cleared to start the Australian Grand Prix despite not setting a time in qualifying.
After Lotus had a number of issues on Friday, Saturday morning saw Maldonado manage just 15 laps before he stopped on track in the final minute. That stoppage led to him missing the start of qualifying and an issue on his installation lap meant he didn't set a time before heavy rain soaked the circuit.
However, the FIA ruled that Maldonado will be allowed to start the race, with the decision stating that the stewards “grant permission for Car 13 Pastor Maldonado to start the race given that … Having set satisfactory times in practice.”
Maldonado explained that the failure to get out at the start of qualifying ruined his chances.
“They were not ready with the procedures and we were not ready to leave the garage as soon as the green light was on,” Maldonado said. “Then during the out lap I had a problem again so I stopped and I wasn't waiting for long while they fixed the problem. Then when I came back out on track it was raining and that's it, game over.
“That's why we stopped, because it was raining. The problem started just because we were not ready to leave the garage on time. That was the problem.”
But Maldonado said that he retains some hope of finishing the race and believes he will be in the mix for points if he manages to do so.
“I think it's possible. We need to put it all together. Even in the race you're not pushing that hard, even though it will be our first long run, race distance. So it will be very important for us to finish to be honest. That will help us to motivate the guys because they've been working so hard even during the nights.
“It's a bit of a hard moment for the team but it's too complex all around the engine, it's not about performance. We never explored our real performance, we don't know where we are at the moment because we never push, there is not time to run enough. So it will be very interesting for us to finish the race. I think if we finish then we will be in a good position to fight for points.”