Former Williams and Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado was notorious for being a crash king. However, one thing to his credit is that he did notch up an unlikely win during the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, beating the likes of Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. That triumph would also remain Williams’ final win for the rest of their F1 career up until now.
Recently, the Venezuelan driver claimed that he was “close” to joining Ferrari for the 2014 Formula 1 season. The 34-year old revealed that it got to a stage that he was expecting a call from Maranello very soon. Maldonado’s win for Williams would be the only time he ever set foot on the podium during his entire F1 career.
His stint with Williams ended in the wake of the 2013 season where the team’s decline was just beginning. It was worth noting that Maldonado accused the team of sabotage ahead of the United States Grand Prix that year.
In 2015, Maldonado’s backers triggered an early exit and he jumped ship to Lotus for the final two years of his F1 career. Interestingly, Maldonado has revealed that he held talks with Ferrari during 2013. He was even under the impression that he stood a chance, until Ferrari re-signed Kimi Raikkonen.
“I was the only one, I was the new guy in F1,” Maldonado revealed in 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.
“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.”
According to Pastor Maldonado his hopes evaporated in 2014 when Stefano Domenicali stepped down as team boss and then president Luca di Montezemolo left.
He revealed that in spite of his close relations to the Williams family, the gravity of the situation struck him. So, he elected to book it away from the team and joined Lotus instead.
“We were expecting to have the best car ever in the history of Williams,” he said. “And we had the worst car ever.”
Unfortunately, His move to Lotus was ill-timed as the V6 turbo-hybrid engine era took its toll on the Enstone outfit. Engine supplier Renault had poor reliability and performance while Williams were at that sharp end of the grid with a couple of podium finishes.