Maldonado expected to benefit from Rosberg retirement


Like that embarrassing Uncle who always manages to make a fool of himself at family gatherings, and for whom we all have a soft spot, so, it is fair to say, F1 fans missed Pastor Maldonado in 2016.

Though we had the likes of Daniil Kvyat to provide the occasional mayhem, there was nobody capable of providing it on a regular basis in the style of the volatile Venezuelan.

Having lost his Lotus drive at the end of 2015 - a situation not helped by the loss of his backer, the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA - Maldonado spent last year seeking an alternative, with little success, but then came the shock news of Nico Rosberg's retirement.

The 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner never expected a call from Toto Wolff, but he had hoped that the resultant game of musical chairs might leave a berth into which he could slip.

Linked with a couple of teams in the weeks that followed Rosberg's revelations, it appears the Venezuelan's hopes for F1 in 2017 have been dashed.

"I evaluated the options and I'm still considering all the possibilities about doing a proper professional programme," he told, "and of course F1 is one of the categories that interests me.

"I had the chance to come back," he continued, referring to Sauber with whom he held exploratory talks, "but I only wanted to do it with the right conditions, not like the ones I had in my previous experience.

"After Rosberg quit, that could have created a domino situation that would have guaranteed me a good chance but things turned out differently," he admitted. "Alternatively, there was the possibility of going to Sauber, which is a good team, with a lot of experience, but has been having a difficult time. But we decided in the end though that the conditions were not right to satisfy either side.

"It's a difficult time for many teams in F1 - not just Sauber - because their choices are dictated by economic reasons."

Other than F1, Maldonado has been linked with IndyCar.

"I hear so many rumours about myself, but the news never comes from me," he said. "Last year I attended an IndyCar race, to which I was invited, and probably some have linked this visit to me racing in the series.

"At the moment there is nothing concrete," he admitted, "and in this case also I will only accept a proposal if I believe in its quality and that it can bring me the right conditions for a good season.

"I have not agreed to anything," he said, the former Williams and Lotus driver willing to consider almost any discipline. "Until I find the right chance, I will stay quiet. Yes, I want to get back on the racetrack, but only as long as I can do it right."

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Published: 20/01/2017
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