29 June 2014
Maldonado tempers Silverstone F1 expectations
Pastor Maldonado expects Silverstone to suit the 2014 Lotus as he looks to open his F1 championship account.
Pastor Maldonado is keeping his optimism in check ahead of the British Grand Prix, hoping for his first points of a frustrating 2014 F1 campaign without expecting a sudden return to the front of the field for the embattled Lotus team.
By its own admission, the Red Bull Ring was not a circuit that suited the team's E22, but hopes are high that returning to the sort of circuit that brought its first points of the year, in Barcelona, will allow both Maldonado and team-mate Romain Grosjean to be in the hunt for points once again. The Frenchman racked up back-to-back eighth places in Spain and Monaco, and both drivers showed well in the intervening Barcelona test, but Lotus has remained scoreless for the two races since then, with a problem-filled Austrian Grand Prix keeping it only eighth in the constructors' table.
“Hopefully, the high speed corners [at Silverstone] will work better with our car and it would be great to be back to where we were in Barcelona, which is quite a similar circuit,” Maldonado confirmed, “Obviously, at the Barcelona test, teams were all running to different programmes, so I don't think we're suddenly going to be the fastest car, but I do expect to be further up the order than we have been at recent races. Like always, [the approach is] just to maximise the package we have and make the very most of every opportunity.”
Although he finished twelfth in Austria, earning praise from Lotus deputy team director Federico Gastaldi for what was potentially his best drive of the season, Maldonado struggled with mechanical issues throughout the 71 laps.
“The team and Renault Sport F1 hopefully learnt quite a lot but, behind the wheel, it was a challenge,” the Venezuelan admitted, “There were many issues to manage, but we drove through them to get to the end of the race.
“This year's cars give you a lot to manage in terms of settings and driving strategies, so there is a lot to focus on when everything is working as it should. There's even more to focus on when something's not working the way it should! Quite a few teams were caught out with issues in Austria, so it was satisfying for me and the team to get to the end of the race.”
Silverstone is a race Maldonado looks forward to each year and, despite Lotus' poor form, nothing has changed this time around.
“I've always really liked the circuit,” he agreed, “I have always enjoyed racing at Silverstone, since my first visit back in 2007, and I have good memories of it as I have had some great races there, including winning in both 2009 and 2010 in the GP2 Series. I think the track will suit our car because it's similar to Barcelona. We're always asking for more power and better reliability this year and this is something I hope we can experience in England.”
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