Maldonado: E22 will be a “podium contender very soon”

Maldonado: E22 will be a “podium contender very soon”

Pastor Maldonado is confident that the troublesome Lotus E22 will be a podium contender in the not too distant future._79P7881

The Venezuelan driver is hoping for a smoother and more trouble-free race weekend in Malaysia after a difficult Australian Grand Prix. His first race for Lotus was plagued by reliability issues. He managed very little running on Friday and Saturday before retiring from the race on lap 29 thanks to an MGU-K problem.

Looking ahead to the second round of the season, he said: “Sepang is a good track and I really like the challenges it presents us with,” he said. “It’s very interesting from the car point of view, especially the aerodynamics, but also the tyres because the asphalt is very aggressive.

“Hopefully this event will go more smoothly for us compared with Australia. We know we need to work very hard to achieve our aims and objectives for the E22. We know where our main focus lies and as a team we are determined to get there.”

When asked how much he was able to learn from his running at the Albert Park Circuit, he said: “A lot. It was the longest stint I’ve done so far and that’s very important for the engineers who can now work through the data and find improvements. Naturally, our immediate priority is to finish the races, but in Formula 1 you never stop searching for more pace as well.”

The 29-year-old believes the Enstone-based outfit’s latest F1 car will score top three results later in the season. “The E22 has a lot of potential and is feeling better to drive every time we go out,” he admitted.

“We’ve had a lot of initial issues with the car, but this has been the same up and down the pit lane. I’m impressed every time I look at the packaging of the car and I know that the work going on at Enstone and with Renault Sport F1 will make the E22 into a podium contender very soon indeed.”

Image courtesy of Lotus F1 Team

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport and Formula 1 journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his F1 paddock debut for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle, RumbleStripNews, Formula1Blog, PureF1 and F1 Plus, as well as running a popular blog.