Moody Maldonado blamed again for F1 crash
Pastor Maldonado’s future in Formula One has been the subject of renewed conjecture following his high-speed collision with Adrian Sutil in the United States Grand Prix.
The moody Venezuelan had already stirred up discussion over his on-track value to a team – despite bringing $US40 million ($A42.7 million) in sponsorship with him – after accusing Williams of sabotage on Saturday.
He is leaving Williams to be replaced by incoming Brazilian Felipe Massa, released by Ferrari, next season and is currently linked with both the Lotus and Sauber outfits for 2014.
With a massive sponsorship deal to offer, he is effectively in a position to buy one of the remaining available seats on next season’s grid despite a reputation as an often dangerous driver.
That reputation, once tarnished by a series of collisions and rows, took a new blow when he was accused of steering his Williams into Sutil’s Force India on the back straight during the opening lap on Sunday.
The collision sent the German into the barriers, wrecking his car and ending his race.
“On a very big straight, with a lot of space left and right, for some reason I got a hit on the left tyre in the middle of the straight and lost the car,” said Sutil afterwards.
“It was very shocking. You’d never believe something like that, but it happened. There was no reason to be so close. I was on my line and I didn’t do anything different.
“I was staying straight with my steering wheel and to the left and right there was a lot of space. I don’t understand why someone then hits you.”
Maldonado, whose F1 career has been punctuated by erratic performances and similar crashes, is currently looking for a new team in a competitive late-season drivers’ market.
He has always appeared to be a man who behaves as if he is insulated by the massive sponsorship package he has to offer from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company.
Typically, he blamed Sutil for their accident.
“It was quite strange,” Maldonado said. “I didn’t expect that contact from Sutil. We were side by side and I was losing a little bit on the straight because he was moving past.
“He either didn’t see me or was thinking he was already fully ahead. My front wing was there and we touched.