Pastor Maldonado last raced at the Red Bull Ring – then called the A1 Ring – back in 2003 in Formula Renault 2.0. The Venezuelan Lotus F1 driver arrives in Austria this weekend hopeful of finally achieving his first points of the 2014 Formula One season. He currently sits bottom of the championship after a run of bad luck that has seen him retire four times in seven races so far.
“I know the track, but it was maybe ten years ago when I last raced there and it will be new for me in an F1 car,” said Maldonado. “I think it should be quite good for the E22. It looks like the circuit doesn’t have too many low speed corners and the downforce and set-up is similar to Barcelona, which should help us. We will work hard to solve the problems we had in Canada so that we can reach our targets in Austria. I’m certainly optimistic Austria will suit us better than the last two rounds.”
Despite the disappointing start to his Lotus career, Maldonado remains in high spirits and feels that a number of tracks still to come on the calendar will be good for him and his team. He was disappointed to lose a potential top ten finish in Montreal last time out when his power unit developed a problem while running eighth.
“I am very motivated. I think we have some good weekends ahead of us and there are still so many races to go. The European part of the season is very important for us, so let’s push hard, do our best and for sure we will be in the points soon.
“We all know what we have to do and we are all pushing hard. Yes, we can all get frustrated, but ultimately we all want to achieve success so we remain positive. We can see how much improvement there has been with pace from the car and once we have all the reliability issues sorted we’ll be regularly fighting for points. Once we’re there, the next target is to fight for more points and then podiums. We’ve seen that the Mercedes are not perfect and can be beaten. Even they had reliability issues in Canada.
“The main positive was that we were fighting for points, easily. The strategy was quite good: Starting on prime tyres and planning only one stop. It was difficult in terms of grip at the beginning and we lost some places, which we expected because the other guys were on super soft tyres. But the pace came and I was competitive. We started 17th and were up to eighth place. Then we had a power unit problem and had to retire. I know we’ve had retirements before, but this was particularly difficult as we have really made progress and we could have finished well despite starting the race from so far back.”
Maldonado has the determination to continue pushing for good results and still believes in himself and his Lotus team. Starting with Austria this weekend, he will push to get the best out of car.
“I still keep pushing and it’s still possible to achieve good things this year. We have had a third of the season, which has been a challenge –a big challenge – but we still have two thirds of the year to go with many circuits which should suit our car. You arrive at every track with the target of having the best weekend possible and finding as much performance from the car and yourself. This does not change if you’ve had a difficult last weekend in the car.
“I can’t wait to get out in FP1 in Austria.”