3 June 2014
Gastaldi admits Monaco F1 ‘a cruel blow’ for Maldonado
Failing to start the Monaco Grand Prix marked a new low in an already desperate season for Lotus F1's Pastor Maldonado.
Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi believes that the Enstone squad could have had two cars in the top ten in last month's Monaco Grand Prix had it not been for further misfortune for Pastor Maldonado.
After qualifying a disappointing 15th fastest, the renowned Monaco 'expert' suffered a fuel pump failure on the dummy grid and was prevented from taking the start of F1's blue riband event. With a best result of 14th from the previous five rounds, the non-score left Maldonado rooted to the bottom of the drivers' table even as team-mate Romain Grosjean shows that this year's E22 is slowly beginning to develop into a points contender.
“Monaco was a frustrating experience,” Gastaldi confirmed, “Having Pastor on the starting grid and the car not working was negative for everyone.
“Romain did a good job to bring the car home in the points again, which is very good, but I think Pastor could also have been in the points too. The team did a great job as usual - engineers mechanics, all the staff and the people in the factory - but it was frustrating for many of us. I know everyone back at Enstone has worked very hard to ensure we won't have the same problem that Pastor experienced again.”
Although some of his problems have been of his own making, Maldonado has also struggled with the E22's gremlins from the start of the season.
“Certainly it's been a tough, tough start to the year and Pastor has really suffered from reliability problems,” Gastaldi acknowledged, “We know that he is a fast driver with good experience and, like all drivers, he wants to be racing on track. Monaco was a cruel blow. Even though we weren't able to extract the speed we wanted from the car, there was a good strategy in place for Pastor to make gains in the race but, as we know, it wasn't to be.”
Although there are now eight points now on the board courtesy of back-to-back eighth place finishes from Grosjean, the Italian is in cautious mood as F1 heads to its mid-season 'flyaway' in Canada.
“We're looking forward to heading to an event which is a real favourite for many people,” he said, “It's a race where we have many guests and, in a commercial sense, this is a strong event. On track, it could be something of a challenge for us as it doesn't look to be a track which plays to our current strengths, but whether that is the case or not we will soon find out.”
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