Pastor Maldonado was an early retirement during the Belgian Grand Prix after losing drive on the exit of Eau Rouge on the second lap, but his Lotus F1 Team have revealed the issue was self-inflicted by the Venezuelan.
Lotus Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane revealed that Maldonado broke his car by running off track at Eau Rouge, resulting in the Venezuelan retiring for a seventh time in eleven races in 2015.
“Maldonado’s retirement was self-inflicted,” said Permane. “He had a huge off at Eau Rouge. That damaged the clutch-control system.
“The valves were damaged and that locked his clutch out. That’s why he couldn’t get back.”
Maldonado had been looking good up to that point, having qualified inside the top seven, but now focuses on the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in two weeks time, and feels the team could be strong after team-mate Romain Grosjean secured the first podium for Lotus since 2013.
“We had been doing a great job this weekend, especially yesterday,” said Maldonado. “The car was feeling very good, very competitive and I had a good race start.
“We had an issue with the drive of the car which the team are investigating. I’m disappointed about the issue we had today but that’s racing sometimes.
“We are keeping focussed for the next race now and Romain has shown what is possible. I love Italy and Monza so I’ll be doing everything I can for a strong result there.”