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Exclusive Pastor Maldonado Q&A: Williams can bounce back 04 Jul 2013

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 30 June 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 30 June 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams walks the track.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 4 July 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 28 June 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 28 June 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 28 June 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Thumbs up from Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Friday, 24 May 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 23 March 2013

Last year Williams’ Pastor Maldonado surprised everyone - including himself - when he clinched his maiden Formula One victory at the Spanish round. This season, however, has been much tougher for Maldonado, who is yet to score a single point in the tricky-to-master FW35. Despite the disappointments, the Venezuelan is keen to brush aside the British team’s current troubles and is instead intent on looking ahead to a brighter future…

Q: Pastor, we’re eight races down and you still have no points. What do you make of that?
Pastor Maldonado:
That’s a very good question. Of course it is very disappointing to have no points - especially when you look back to last year. But the current situation is all related to the new car. It is not performing enough, especially in qualifying. We are not really competitive this season. Of course we are all working very hard to solve the problems but they are not easy to fix. We need more time and hopefully very soon we will introduce a big new package.

Q: When can we expect this new package to arrive?
PM:
We don’t know exactly but hopefully soon. Instead of fighting to make it into Q2 we will be fighting to make it into Q3. Obviously we still have to bridge a significant gap but, if you look at McLaren and Sauber, Williams is not the only team caught on the back foot. We are working very hard to get better.

Q: You are now in your third season with Williams and there haven’t been any indications that the team will revisit their old glories. You must have a pretty good idea why this is so…
PM:
Well, the last race in Silverstone was quite good for us. We were close to the points and only lost them in the last phase of the race. It was possible to finish in P9. But, of course, that is not even close to where the team should be with all its history.

Q: A Formula One career is a fragile thing. Do you worry that you will be discarded before you ever show your true potential?
PM:
For sure Formula One is a difficult world and difficult work. You must be at the right place at the right time. At the moment I think that I am able to show people my talent. I won a race after just one year in F1 with a car that was not in the condition to win. So I think I did quite well last year. I was very competitive last year even if I made some mistakes at some race. This year I haven’t been making these mistakes anymore so there has been an improvement on my side. I think that people who know how to value a driver know what my potential is. My team is very happy with me and I am happy because of that. I cannot tell the team to take me. The only thing I can do is to show what I am capable of.

Q: There are rumours linking you with Lotus. What’s the truth in that?
PM:
It is completely false. I am happy with where I am. I am leading the team here. They gave me the opportunity to become a Formula One driver and we achieved my first victory together. I will probably like to race for another team in the future but the future is not next year! Before I leave the team I would like to win the championship with them. In this team we have everything - all the tools - to be world champions again.

Q: All drivers sitting in a Formula One cockpit dream of glory. How does it feel when you can only manage between 11th and 16th places? Do you still have the same enthusiasm?
PM:
A bit less. But you want to do your best and get 100 percent from both the car and the team. For sure finishing out of the points is hard to accept, but this is Formula One and not GP2. Personally for me it is pretty hard. In the past I have always been in the front in races and winning championships. It has a big impact, but when you think as a team player you always have to perform to the maximum and try to develop the car during the season.

Q: Have you seen any changes since Mike Coughlan joined as technical director?
PM:
We are working together as a team. We have made some mistakes - that’s why we are in this position. But all teams are prone to make mistakes - sometimes. Just remember Ferrari at the beginning of last season! They bounced back over the course of the season and that is what we also have to do. We made some wrong decisions with this year’s car and we are paying for that very dearly. Now we have to take a step back, review everything that we’ve done and start again. We are in the process of restarting again. The season is not yet finished for us. We will still have the passion to improve until the end of the season. So it is not only Mike, who is a fantastic engineer with good ideas. There are 500 people in this team. Everybody counts. We have to fight all together.

Q: Your rookie team mate Valtteri Bottas has been quite a challenge for you so far this season…
PM:
Yes, he has been. But the rivalry that the media make out of that is purely made-up. There is a good difference between him and me. Sure, in the previous races - especially in qualifying - he has done a bit better than me. I have to admit as well that our car is quite difficult for my driving style - every time I push it only gets worse!

Q: You recently said that the FW35 suits him better than you. Can you explain that a bit more?
PM:
Well Valtteri’s driving style is very gentle whilst my driving style is very aggressive. This has always worked for me up until now. But the fact is that I don’t want to adapt to his style because the tide will change again. I have always won by staying true to my style so I say that the car needs to change - not me! But he’s a good guy who is doing a good job and we get along quite well together.

Q: If you could make a realistic wish for the rest of the season, what would it be?
PM:
Points! It will be very difficult to win again and we are talking about a realistic dream, right? We are quite far away from the pace of the top teams but I think if we work hard we could be solidly in the points frequently. That is our main focus right now.

Q: Frank Williams is obviously the team’s icon. How is he taking this dry spell?
PM:
Frank has always been up for a challenge and he still loves racing. He understands that sometimes you are at the top and sometimes you are not. Does he like this? Probably not. But that is part of life and he accepts that. We all know that this team has everything to be successful again and for some reason we are not at the moment. So we all have to stick together, Frank, his daughter Claire and the whole team. I predict we will be successful again.

Q: Could this be the race you finally score points?
PM:
It will be hard but not impossible. We have to improve in qualifying and the closer we get to the top teams the better. During races we are quite good. We manage the tyre degradation quite well and we manage the strategies and race situations quite well. But we need to start the race further up the grid. Let’s wait and see.

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