Maldonado "expected" to join Ferrari after 2013 talks

Ex-Williams and Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado claims he was “close” to joining Ferrari for the 2014 Formula 1 season and that he was “expecting" the move to happen.

Maldonado "expected" to join Ferrari after 2013 talks

Maldonado won the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix for Williams on only his 24th start in F1, but did not score another podium finish before leaving the championship after his fifth season in 2015.

His stint with Williams ended early after a disappointing 2013 campaign that hit a new low when Maldonado thought someone within the team tampered with his car ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Despite having a deal that ran through to 2015, Maldonado's backers negotiated an early exit and he moved to the Lotus team, where he spent the final two years of his F1 career.

However, Maldonado has revealed he held talks with Ferrari during 2013 and thought he might join the team for 2014, but it signed Kimi Raikkonen instead.

“I was the only one, I was the new guy in F1,” Maldonado said in an interview with F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast.

“It’s like [Max] Verstappen at the moment. Like Robert Kubica at his time. I was the guy at the time. People were coming to me, they were happy to talk to me, and they were happy to discuss me.

“What was not clear was the relationship with the sponsors [Venezuelan oil firm PDVSA], of course. It was a lot of conflict of interest against the sponsors and we were negotiating about that. My sponsors were open to maybe not to be on the car or be with another company, they were open to find a solution to my career.

"At some point we got very close to Ferrari. I was expecting the move at the time.

“That was my time. It was the moment to have a second chance, not to fight to try to show [my ability] every day, because it was impossible.”

Maldonado believes any chance of ever joining Ferrari was eliminated in 2014 when first Stefano Domenicali stepped down as team boss and then president Luca di Montezemolo left.

“We lost the contacts and the communication and we focused on [elsewhere],” he said. “I’ve never been to Maranello but we had a few meetings at the track. I met Domenicali a few times and I met also di Montezemolo.”

Maldonado said he was close to the Williams family but the reality of their terrible 2013 season together was too difficult to continue with.

“We were expecting to have the best car ever in the history of Williams,” he said. “And we had the worst car ever.”

His move to Lotus was badly-timed given its fortunes changed drastically with the start of the V6 turbo-hybrid engine era in 2014.

Lotus’s engine supplier Renault had poor reliability and performance whereas Williams went from the back of the grid to podium finishes with a new car and Mercedes power.

Maldonado insists he looks back on his F1 career as a “happy” man, adding: “Not only because I had the chance but I am happy for all the achievements in my career.”

However, when it was put to him he could have achieved more, Maldonado said: “A lot more.

“When you see drivers in F1 you said ‘oh my God, I can do that better than this’. Even now. But maybe it’s not my moment anymore.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams FW34

Pastor Maldonado, Williams FW34

Photo by: Sutton Images

shares
comments
Vettel not Ferrari's number two driver - Montezemolo

Previous article

Vettel not Ferrari's number two driver - Montezemolo

Next article

Vettel is facing the biggest challenge of his career

Vettel is facing the biggest challenge of his career
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Pastor Maldonado
Teams Williams , Scuderia Ferrari
Author Scott Mitchell
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021