Maldonado heaping on grid penalties in Monaco

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Spanish GP winner PAstor Maldonado is collecting grid penalties this weekend in Monaco. After a Free Practice 3 session shunt with Sauber’s Sergio Perez, and subsequent penalty for the collision, the Williams driver was slated to start 19th for Sunday’s race.  Now it seems the team will also change the gear box which is another penalty leaving the Venezuelan driver at the back of the grid. Williams F1′ Chief Operations Engineer, Mark Gillan, said:

“The car had a lot of damage in it, to the point where we are having to change the gearbox in it as well.

“There was a significant amount of damage to the car, so the guys did a really good job to even get it out for qualifying.”

The Williams F1 crew faced extreme highs and lows two weeks ago in Spain with a victory followed by an explosion and fire in their garage 90 minutes after the podium celebration leaving one employee burned requiring extended medical coverage in Spain prior to returning home. The Fire did significant damage to the teams equipment and they scrambled to get ready for this weekend’s race in Monaco. The qualifying session and penalties were unfortunate as Gillan believes they could have done better:

“I’ve no doubt we could have done P4 or P5, with a decent clean run, or maybe even higher. But Pastor did not match his Q2 time and his time in Q3 was set with old super soft tyres, so there was definitely quite a bit more to be had.

“It’s disappointing. But it is still good that we are disappointed because the pace is definitely there.”

For Maldonado’s perspective, the grand prix winner said:

“If you remember Schumacher in the last race, he damaged the race of Bruno, my team-mate,” said Maldonado. “And he got only five places.

“I did nearly nothing, it was just a little touch, because of the condition of the track… it is a very narrow track, I lost the car, maybe I could have backed off a little bit but I was trying to not get traffic on my best lap.

“So it’s a difficult to say. It’s very inconsistent, but that’s the reality.”

Consistency, or the lack thereof, is nothing new in Formula One as fans have been calling for the notion of equity in penalizing drivers and teams for years. Maldonado said the incident with Perez was his fault but played down the collision telling Sky Sports:

“Difficult to say. It was a mistake from my side because I lost the car. I was trying to pass Perez quite quick, cold tyres – it was the out lap – and I lost a little bit the car.

“I was trying to recover the car and when I recovered the car I touched Perez. I was completely in the oversteer and when I recovered the car the tyres took too much of the grip and I touched Perez.

 “Maybe I needed to back off a little bit, but I was trying to do my best and that’s it.”
Regardless, the race stewards have precious few penalty options available to them for on-event situations. With limited options, the outcomes are assumed to be more consistent but that hasn’t been the case in F1.
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