Does Pastor Maldonado deserve his bad boy reputation?

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? Review his driving 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 serves 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 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 3 on lap 28.

2012 Australian Grand Prix

Collides with Romain Grosjean on lap two. Grosjean is pushed 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 Monaco Grand Prix

Crashes into Sergio Perez 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.

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.

Collides with Max Chilton and hits the barriers 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. Gutierrez runs off the road with damage.

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.

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, keeps the throttle open, and spins into the wall on lap 1.

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

Comments(26)

  1. Reply
    James Wilson says

    He either finds trouble… or trouble finds him!

    Wins 1 Grand Prix – Pit garage bursts into flames!

    • Reply
      Curb says

      xD
      thanks for my laugh of the day 🙂

      • Reply
        James Wilson says

        On behalf of Marty Porter who sourced & wrote it – you’re most welcome!

    • Reply
      Joey Molluso says

      you Sir, have made my day

    • Reply
      SQUIDGAMING says

      Lol Thats ture.

  2. Reply
    lotusdriver says

    Pastor certainly deserves his reputation, but brings 25 or 30 $M to Lotus. If others don’t want to drive against him all they have to do is stay clear for a couple laps and he’ll crash out of position.

  3. Reply
    dgr8d says

    He has had at least 11 incidents minimum each season and a max of 16. Formula1 is suppose to have the best drivers in the world and obviously he is not one. He should be in a demolition derby. Its like he is a experimental monkey trying to drive except a monkey would crash less. Please someone put him back in his cage before he really hurts someone and himself.

  4. Reply
    MartyP says

    I found it surprising how often he crashes, or spins out of a race, all by himself. I can’t think of another F1 driver who has consistently made very basic mistakes like that.

    • Reply
      James Wilson says

      You also highlight a good point Marty and that’s he keeps his foot in in most cases which leads to the crash itself. I’m quite sure he could have come off the accelerator, scooped the car up and probably saved $100,000’s worth of damage over the length of his career. But then again, who cares about 6 digit sums when you bring 8 digit sums in your back pocket…

  5. Reply
    Clos says

    i think it’s a shame that the Venezuelan government keeps spending money on one of the worst if not the worst driver in F-1 !!!!

  6. Reply
    Trevor says

    Don’t forget the single-car crash at T3 in the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix! 😉

  7. Reply
    bob says

    some people call him Crashtor Maldonado

    • Reply
      James Wilson says

      …All we know is – he’s called the STIG!!!

      Or not – I don’t think the BBC have enough budget for car repairs if he took that role.

  8. Reply
    Joey Molluso says

    I feel that as F1 fans, we are obligated to document the rest of this years incidents (plenty to add) and of course go back and note the many other incidents this joke of a driver has had in previous years. My fear is this site may not be able to handle such excessive data or stupidity. whatever you’d like to call it.

  9. Reply
    Joey Molluso says

    At a quick glance, some updates on the rest of this years incidents (I’m sure I’ve missed some)

    Malaysia 2015 race. Collided with Bottas and received a puncture. Later in the race was caught speeding under the safety car and received a 10 second penalty

    Bahrain 2015 race. Mistakenly lined up in 18th position on the starting grid. This pushed Will Stevens behind him one row down as well, while the 16th slot was left vacant. Maldonado received a 5-second penalty as a result.

    Spain 2015 race. Collided with teammate Grosjean and damaged his rear wing.

    Monaco 2015 race. Made contact with Massa and damaged his front wing forcing him an early pit.

    Austria 2015 race. There was no incident but damn it’s funny to watch! coming out of a slip stream on a straight behind Verstappen, he almost loses it. that’s correct. He almost loses control driving straight on a dry track.

    Hungary 2015 race. My favourite to date 🙂 crashes into Perez in the first corner and is handed a drive through penalty. He is then penalised for speeding through the pits whilst serving that penalty with another drive through penalty. Later in the race is given a third penalty for speeding under the safety car.

    Can I just mention that Maldonado has recently been in the press stating he is undervalued in this sport. You’re kidding right? You having a laugh mate?

  10. Reply
    Jimmy says

    Has Maldonado Crashed Today ?
    http://hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com/

  11. Reply
    Paul says

    He is a joke wish I cd earn that sort of money I’d do better than him in a Ford focus lx lol and cheer ha.

  12. Reply
    Armando Zapata says

    Yesterday August 21, 2015, Pastor crashes into a barrier by himself alone in Practice 2 of Belgium GP.

  13. Reply
    DEVILLVAN says

    Seriously, I think that we have been very unfair! All pilot sitting behind the wheel of these cars, deserves the utmost respect considering the risks inherent in their profession, as for permit to increase it at each meeting with the presence of a talent so lackluster as “Maldoblado”; and if you want a sample button, there are as many as buttons have their steering wheel. So, I think that his only victory was also an accident.

  14. Reply
    ASenna says

    Please add his latest crash in Monza 3 days ago (Monza ’15) running into Hulkenberg at race start in the 1st corner, ending his race with a broken suspension.

    • Reply
      James Wilson says

      We’ll definitely add his latest shenanigans, don’t worry!!!

  15. Reply
    Baziz says

    More than half of these incidents aren’t even his fault…

  16. Reply
    Wais says

    You forgot 2011 Canadian GP where he spun into Turn 2, his own mistake.
    And 2012 Brazilian GP, after a brilliant first lap, he binned it at Turn 3.

    Two crashes that werent shown on TV.

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