Does Pastor Maldonado deserve his bad boy reputation?

At the start of the 2015 F1 season, we published an article of every crash and incident Pastor Maldonado has been involved in during his time in Formula 1. After a “car crash” of a season so far, it seems only fair to publish an updated list of all the latest happenings from Planet Pastor. Thanks to Vine and YouTube, we can now show you more incidents than ever before! Without further ado…

Amongst the current field of Grand Prix drivers there are none who receive more frequent criticism than Pastor Maldonado. Over the last four years Maldonado has been involved in a string of incidents, and has received more penalties than any other driver, giving him a reputation as an accident waiting to happen. His misadventures have triggered countless parodies, memes, and even a website called hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com

However, is this reputation justified, or is Maldonado unfairly singled out? What do you think?

The case for Maldonado

Maldonado is a GP2 champion and a Grand Prix winner who can deliver strong results in decent machinery. All drivers make mistakes, but Maldonado is put under far more scrutiny than others because of an unfair perception that has built up over time. He gets blamed for accidents that aren’t his fault, simply because it’s easy to do so, and the effect of that snowballs. When he ran wide during practice at the recent Australian Grand Prix, Mark Webber jumped on the opportunity to criticise Maldonado from the commentary box, but when other drivers ran wide there were no such comments. It’s also worth noting that you’re always going to be involved in more accidents if you have nothing to lose in a rubbish car buried deep in the pack. He is a genuine talent who needs time to grow into a front-runner and his current reputation is undeserved.

The case against Maldonado

Maldonado had a questionable driving record before he even reached Formula One. As well as numerous accidents throughout the junior categories he was given a four race ban in the World Series by Renault for ignoring yellow flags and causing an accident that injured a marshal. This followed a similar WSR incident where he crashed heavily into a stationery car under red flag conditions. He was also disqualified from a GP2 race for disregarding marshal’s instructions which suggests he doesn’t think rationally behind the wheel.

All young drivers make mistakes but blatantly and repeatedly ignoring flags is a deliberate offence that is far worse than any simple error. That reckless attitude continued in Formula One as Maldonado seemingly rammed Lewis Hamilton (Qualifying, Belgium 2011) and Sergio Perez (Practice, Monaco 2012) when he grew frustrated with them. It’s one thing to collide accidentally with a rival, but it’s another to intentionally crash into them after the heat of the moment has passed. He is the sort of driver who keeps the throttle open when an accident starts so that it can only finish in the barriers. He is the sort of driver who crashes during a showcar demonstration, or veers off the road because he is looking down at his steering wheel. He is the sort of driver who ignores blue flags, gets a penalty, and then continues to ignore blue flags. He is a reckless driver with a dangerous unsporting attitude and his bad reputation is entirely deserved.

What do you think?

Does Maldonado deserve his reputation, or is it simply too easy to single him out? Below is a list of every single incident Pastor Maldonado has been involved in during his Grand Prix career. Is he a careless driver or is he just a victim of circumstance? Review his record below and make your own decision.

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
Spins in the pitlane and damages the car in Practice 2.

2011 Chinese Grand Prix
Spins at Turn 6 and beaches the car in Practice 1.

2011 Turkish Grand Prix
Damages the car after his second spin in Practice 1.

2011 Monaco Grand Prix
Collides with Lewis Hamilton whilst being overtaken on Lap 73. Retires from the race.

2011 Hungarian Grand Prix
Speeds in the pitlane and receives a drive through penalty.

2011 Belgian Grand Prix
Crashes into Lewis Hamilton whilst heading to the pits during qualifying. Receives a grid penalty for doing so.

2011 Italian Grand Prix
Spins into the wall coming out of parabolica during qualifying.

2011 Japanese Grand Prix
Runs off at high speed over the grass in Practice 1 and stops the car on track shortly afterwards.

2011 Korean Grand Prix
Hits a bollard entering the pitlane and receives a drive through penalty.

2011 Indian Grand Prix
Gets hit from behind by Rubens Barrichello shortly after the start at Turn 1.

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Receives a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags.
Receives a 30 second penalty for continuing to ignore blue flags.

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself at Turn 6 on lap 28.

2012 Australian Grand Prix
Collides with Romain Grosjean on lap two. Grosjean is forced off the track and retires with damage.
Crashes into the wall by himself on the final lap.

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix
Runs off the track during qualifying and damages the car.

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix
Picks up a puncture and spins coming out of Turn 2 on lap 25.

2012 Monaco Grand Prix
Crashes into Sergio Perez after being held up in Practice 3. Receives a ten place grid penalty for doing so.
Crashes hard into the wall at Casino Square by himself in Practice 3.
Crashes into the back of Pedro De La Rosa on lap 1 with enough force to retire them both.

2012 Canadian Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself during qualifying.

2012 European Grand Prix
Crashes into Lewis Hamilton when rejoining the circuit and receives a penalty for doing so. Hamilton retires.

2012 British Grand Prix
Crashes into Sergio Perez on lap 12. Receives a reprimand and a fine for doing so. Perez retires.

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix
Crashes into Paul di Resta on lap 48. Receives a drive through penalty for doing so.

2012 Belgian Grand Prix
Blocks Nico Hulkenberg during qualifying and receives a grid penalty for doing so.
Jumps the start and receives a penalty for doing so.
Crashes into the back of Timo Glock on Lap 5 and receives a penalty for doing so.

2012 Indian Grand Prix
Collides with Kamui Kobayashi on lap 32, runs off track and picks up a puncture.

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Collides with Mark Webber on lap 23.

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix
Misses the weight check during qualifying and receives a reprimand for doing so.
Crashes into the wall at Turn 3 by himself on lap 2.

2013 Australian Grand Prix
Spins out of the race by himself at Turn 1 on lap 25.

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix
Runs off the road by himself and damages the car on lap 14.

2013 Spanish Grand Prix
Speeds in the pitlane and receives a penalty for doing so.

2013 Monaco Grand Prix
Collides with Giedo van der Garde and damages both cars on lap 1.
Hits the barriers after a collision with Max Chilton on lap 44. Chilton is penalised.

2013 Canadian Grand Prix
Spins into the wall and damages the car at Turn 3 in Practice 1.
Crashes into the back of Adrian Sutil and damages the car on lap 7. Receives a penalty for doing so.

2013 Belgian Grand Prix
Collides with Adrian Sutil and damages the car on lap 28.
Crashes into Paul di Resta on his way into pitlane and receives a penalty for doing so. Di Resta retires.

2013 Singapore Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall at Turn 13 by himself in Practice 2.

2013 Japanese Grand Prix
Crashes into the barrier at Turn 9 by himself in Practice 2.
Collides with Valtteri Bottas on the last corner of the last lap. Bottas runs off the track.

2013 United States Grand Prix
Collides with Adrian Sutil and damages the car on lap 1.

2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
Collides with Jean Eric Vergne and spins on lap 65.

2014 Australian Grand Prix
Spins and beaches the car by himself in qualifying.

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix
Runs off the road and damages the car in Practice 2.
Crashes into the back of Esteban Gutierrez after the apex of Turn 1 on lap 48. Receives a penalty for doing so. Gutierrez flips over and retires.

2014 Chinese Grand Prix
Veers off the road whilst looking at his steering wheel in Practice 1.
Crashes in the pitlane entry in Practice 2.

2014 Spanish Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself at Turn 3 in qualifying.
Crashes into Marcus Ericsson on lap 1 and receives a penalty for doing so.

2014 British Grand Prix
Collides with Esteban Gutierrez on lap 47.

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix
Collides with Jules Bianchi and spins on lap 15.

2014 Belgian Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself in Practice 2.

2014 Singapore Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself in Practice 2. (Skip to 30 seconds)

2014 United States Grand Prix
Speeds behind the Safety Car and receives a penalty for doing so.

2015 Australian Grand Prix
Gets hit by Felipe Nasr and spins into the wall on lap 1. Footage suggests he keeps the throttle open after the car reaches the grass.

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix
Picks up a puncture after contact with Valtteri Bottas shortly after the start.

2015 Chinese Grand Prix
Runs off the track whilst entering the pitlane on lap 34.
Runs off track and spins by himself at Turn 7 on lap 40.
Gets hit from behind by Jenson Button on lap 49.

2015 Bahrain Grand Prix
Starts the race from the wrong grid slot, two places behind his actual position, and receives a penalty for doing so.
Makes contact with Max Verstappen on lap 1.
Runs off track by himself at Turn 11 on lap 1 and loses a position.
Runs off track by himself at Turn 13 on lap 1 and loses another position.

2015 Spanish Grand Prix
Makes contact with Grosjean on Lap 4 and damages the rear wing endplate.

2015 Canadian Grand Prix
Runs off track by himself on lap 29 and loses a position

2015 British Grand Prix
Collides with Grosjean at Turn 1 shortly after the start.

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix
Collides with Sergio Perez on lap 19 and receives a penalty for doing so.
Speeds in the pitlane whilst serving a drive-through penalty on lap 25, and receives another penalty for doing so.
Overtakes Will Stevens behind the Safety Car on lap 48 and receives a penalty for doing so.

2015 Belgian Grand Prix
Runs very wide at the corner with no name, 1 lap later drops the car mid corner through Malmedy and heavily damages the front right and rear right corners.

This article was researched and written by Martin Porter. Check out his facebook page Motorsport Snippets.

Comments(7)

  1. Reply
    Patrick says

    I believe the everybody is entirely responsible for the reputation that they get throughout their life and therefore they have nobody but themselves to thank for other peoples opinion of themselves. So is Maldonados reputation deserved? Most definitely.

  2. Reply
    Ars says

    I don’t understand why is FIA not looking into this, he is dangerous for formula 1, no team is interested in him its only PDVSA backing buying track time for him. Once he’s gone he’ll be forgotten forever.

    • Reply
      Micklaren says

      In my opinion Pastor will be remembered for a long time…. The record books must have him down already as the driver with the highest accident rate in Formula1. If Renault buys Lotus, I’m sure they will do away with his services. PDVSA or not, Renault will most certainly not put up with such a second rate driver. Farewell Maldonado!

  3. Reply
    Ars says

    Absolutely waste of a talent, only knows how to abuse a car, never respects it.

  4. Reply
    Baziz says

    I agree he makes quite some errors but as stated in the first case ‘for’ Maldonado he is treated different and unfair compared to other drivers. I wonder if people even realise that in 2014 there were 2 other drivers that were involved in more incidents than Maldonado.
    He is a diamond in the rough and his reputation is a complete overreaction by people who don’t follow open wheel racing very closely and like to be disrespectful.

  5. Reply
    Martin says

    It would be interesting to compare this to say Lewis Hamilton’s incident record and see how Pastor stacks up. Personally I think every driver has incidents and none more so than Pastor. I think what is more disturbing is not the number of incidents he is involved in but seemingly the inability to learn from them. If Pastor really is protected by his PDVSA sponsorship and I think to a large extent that can only be true, then surely this is a perfect time to use this protection to improve his reputation and maybe improve his chances of a better drive before this protected status escapes him.

  6. Reply
    Wais says

    2015 Canada wasn’t even a crash

    2011 Canada you forgot it, he crashed at Turn 2.

Post a comment to Wais