Maldonado signs at Lotus – a good deal all round

Pastor Maldonado’s actions recently in accusing his mechanics of tampering with his car won him no friends amongst F1 fans. And the fact that he is very well backed by his states oil company has made him somewhat of a hate figure under the banner of “pay driver”

As a huge Hulkenberg fan, I’d like nothing more to see him in a top car, however many fans seem to be completely missing the financial considerations at play here.

The boys and girls down at Enstone are a fantastically committed and experienced bunch. Yet like many teams of late in F1, financing and sponsorship has been largely difficult to come by. It’s with that in mind that I fully understand why this deal is attractive.

Maldonado is a quick driver, who has been erratic this year. He is, however, very capable of putting a good season together in a solid car. And with a good financial deal now in place, the stability of the team is surely now confirmed.

So that’s why I’m tipping him to do well at Lotus next year, despite his detractors. Much like the bandwagon many jumped on last year with Romain Grosjean, I suspect in time he will come good.

If anything the deal confirms what many of us have thought for some time. The F1 business model needs a fundamental shakeup………

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Even Nostradamus wouldn’t have predicted that – 2013 Merc v McLaren (and other ramblings)

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Well, as a McLaren and Williams fan for a long time, it’s fair to say I will be consigning 2013 to a dark place in my mind.

And I would also imagine there are some Lewis Hamilton fans feeling fairly happy with his move to Mercedes. Challenging times ahead for merc to continue progressing after what has been a really positive shift change this year on the car front.

Having finished 2012 with what was arguably the fastest car, McLaren started 2013 very positively in the first test, only to find it was a but of a fluke due to a quirky setup. The rest is a matter of record and given it’s been a deep low, I think the mechanics and team as a whole have performed well to recover to some extent.

Yes, those that don’t like Ron, Martin and the Woking outfit will have enjoyed seeing what is a top team struggle. But in the same season we’ve managed to reignite Hondas F1 flame for 2015, along with securing some absolutely top class tech staff for that big push.

As for next year at the sharp end the Mercedes power unit is going to be a top engine so it will come down to who makes the best package able to take advantage of the rules.

On Redbull, I’d fully expect Adrian Newey and team to come strong next year, although if the rumoured lower power output is to be believed they’ll have to be. That said Renault are a great engine builder in F1 and rarely completely miss the brief.

As for Ferrari I’m still yet to be convinced they can maintain the tech drive throughout the year without trying to find a scapegoat for bad performances. The red peril is a great organisation but in my view has recently been a place to not holding ones resolve and being more interested in finding someone at fault.

There are a number of things I’m excited to see throughout the grid next year, from the Pat Symonds effect at Williams, to the continuation of the Caterham Marussia battle.

And then look at some of the potential driver lineups at Sauber and Force India, and what looks like a very strong lineup for Lotus either way and there’s lots to look forward to.

I can’t wait to board the plane to Jerez personally. It will be here before we know it.

Don’t worry mate – you definitely made your Mark.

When Mark Webber signs off from F1 tomorrow, we will lose one of the great current personalities in F1.

A straight-talking, honest driver, less interested in saying what is expected and more interested in playing a straight bat – must be a PR nightmare at times.

I was gutted in 2010 when Mark very nearly achieved his dream, only to go off at the Korean Gp when it all looked so promising.

There will be much written about Mark over the next few days, but whilst reading James Allen’s blog (James Allen on F1) perhaps just what a loss he will be to the sport becomes apparent.

It wasn’t in James’ summary of Mark that the qualities shone through. It was in the comments section at the bottom – this sums up the type of guy I’ve imagined Mark to be – the only F1 driver most of us would enjoy going for a beer with.

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You see you can have your team writing the stuff for you, or sending a generic signed picture out, but you can’t buy class like that.

So Mark, I’ll be rooting for you tomorrow mate. Best of luck with Porsche. They’ll be getting a great driver.

And if you ever fancy that beer….

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Kimi turns his back on Lotus #f1

So now its official – Kimi will be missing the final races of the season to get his back sorted for next year.

Whilst his departure from Lotus has been less than ideal, and the very public nature of his pay dispute, the partnership has gone well.

Romain Grosjean is looking a lot more complete a driver having had someone else taking a lot of the publicity for the last couple of years. He’s ready for shouldering that additional leadership role next year.

The intriguing aspect of the driver market now is who will replace Kimi.

Personally I think if Lotus could secure Nico Hulkenberg that would give them the best younger driver lineup in F1. Although having a well financed quick driver like Pastor Maldonado could tick a lot of boxes for the chaps at Enstone. I’m still convinced Pastor in a good car is eminently capable of consistent race winning.

You could also make a case for promoting Davide Valsecci – someone who has shown enough promise to warrant a step up.

But then, Hulkenberg would presumably only get the drive if the ever elusive Quantum deal comes to fruition. How many times have we seen these wealthy mystery buyers sneak of into the sunset again.

Who would you like to be in the second car next year?

Losing the plot on aero – doing what everyone else is doing

I was intrigued by the Williams Teams discovery at the weekend that removing the Coanda exhaust system on the car whilst testing actually improved the cars handling/feel.

I’d love to see the opinions of those in the know on this – do designers and teams feel obliged to have the latest and greatest design quirk on the car and does it actually cause more problems than it solves in terms of driveability.

I remember in the early days of blowing exhaust gases into the diffuser how some teams experienced big driveability issues.

I wonder therefore quite how many bells and whistles on cars don’t actually improve the car. Controversial?…….

Kimi – right or wrong?

I was surprised yesterday to read quite a lot of criticism of Kimi, regarding his potentially not driving for the remainder of the season for Lotus.

Personally, if someone refused to pay my wages for the full year to date, I’d feel fairly well justified in at least considering withdrawing my labour. Whilst you’d argue an F1 driver is slightly different from an average person, I’d imagine finances are becoming fairly tight for Kimi.

I’d be interested in getting peoples views in the below poll – Is Kimi well within his rights, or completely wrong?