Pastor Maldonado is sure that, after five races full of misfortune, his luck has to change before too long.
The Venezuelan has yet to score a world championship point in 2015 – a pattern worryingly similar to that blighted by a far less competitive car in 2014 – and has had to watch as Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean makes the most of improved performance from the E23 to rack up finishes of seventh, seventh and eighth in the three most recent outings. Even when the pair came together at the start of last Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, it was the Frenchman – who made the initial mistake – that escaped more lightly…
“Our luck hasn't been great, but this is racing,” he sighed, “With the damaged rear wing endplate, I suffered early in the race, we lost some downforce for sure. However, the pace was still there and I was pushing to try and recover [before] we had to retire the car on lap 45.
“It was a very little touch - it happened but we move on, it's all a part of racing. We have a car that has a lot of potential and we are fighting ever higher in the field. We have a good engine and the tyres are lasting longer and that makes us confident that we can get some good results in the near future. We need to stay strong and, as soon as the bad luck passes, it will be very fun!”
'Fun' for Maldonado has frequently come in Monaco where, after an early run-in with the authorities, he established himself as something of a circuit specialist. With the Principality next up on the F1 schedule, the former GP2 champion is hoping his luck turns a little more quickly, particularly after a solid two-day test for the team in Spain.
“Monaco is such an historic grand prix and an iconic race for F1,” he noted, “I really love it. I've been very quick in the past and I think it is one of the most special weekends of the year.
“Monaco is a very different approach for the team and the drivers. I have been working at 100 per cent so that we are fully prepared. The car is in good shape, and we have discovered some things during the test which have made us confident going into Monaco, so I am looking forward to doing my best. We are expecting a Monaco-specific aero package but I think we can make some big jumps still. We have good potential and we can do much better throughout the European season.”
Maldonado was in the E23 for day one of testing in Barcelona, before handing over to development driver Jolyon Palmer, and felt that the session boded well for more than just Monaco.
“We had a list of plenty of parts to test but, even in the 60 laps we did on the day, we didn't have enough time to test everything,” he revealed, “A lot of the work we did was in preparation of the next race, but I've also been experimenting with different set-ups and aero combinations [back at Enstone], which contributes not only to Monaco next weekend but also to the other upcoming races.”