user icon

Maldonado triggers final 'silly season' pieces to fall into place

  • Published on 26 Nov 2013 08:33
  • comments 0
  • By: Rob Veenstra
The final pieces of the 2014 grid are now set to fall into place. With the possible - albeit unlikely - exception of Caterham and Marussia, the only team with full driver stability heading into next season will be Mercedes.

Top teams Ferrari and McLaren, however, have already decided their 2014 lineups, leaving Lotus, Force India and Sauber with the most interesting remaining seats to fill. Until now, despite Nico Hulkenberg's talent, Pastor Maldonado has held the key to unlocking those vacancies, thanks to his EUR 40 million in PDVSA backing.

He has been in talks with Sauber, whose financial struggles in 2013 have been well documented, but ultimately the Swiss team has missed out on the crucial millions. With Sauber's Sergey Sirotkin-linked Russian rescue deal now in doubt, the Maldonado blow could be costly. Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said co-owners Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn may have to sell the Hinwil based team. "Plan C is a sale, and reputable investors from the USA are said to be interested," said the report.

In the end, the similarly-struggling Lotus has also had to acknowledge that its Quantum money may never arrive, and so it has reportedly signed Maldonado. An announcement of the Venezuelan's contract is said to be imminent. "I think we are now coming to a final agreement," Maldonado is quoted by Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo, without naming his likely 2014 team.

A Quantum-cashed Lotus would ideally have picked Hulkenberg, but the talented German has been left to decide between staying at Sauber, or returning to Force India. His decision will be made "in the next two or three days," manager Werner Heinz is quoted by SID news agency. But paddock insiders know better. Hulkenberg apparently signed his Force India deal on Sunday, ahead of the Brazilian grand prix. Heinz hinted at the done deal. "His (Hulkenberg's) heart is at Sauber, but we don't know what their financial situation will look like next year. In all probability we will sign at Force India. It's too dangerous when you don't know if Sauber is going to have the sponsors it needs," he said.

On the other hand, the main backer at Force India is Dr Vijay Mallya, and he is "a rich man who invests in the team again and again," Heinz is quoted by Der Spiegel. It is believed Sauber will replace Hulkenberg with Adrian Sutil, making room at Force India for the McLaren refugee Sergio Perez, who has reunited with Telmex and reportedly has EUR 15 million to offer in sponsorship. "Obviously it (Force India) is one of the options," the Mexican said. "I hope in the next few days we are going to have some news." (GMM)

Replies (0)

Login to reply

BE Grand Prix of Belgium

Local time 

BE Grand Prix of Belgium

Local time 

Related news

World Championship standings 2021

Show full world champion standings

Test calendar

Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing

See full test schedule

Give your opinion!

Will Bottas challenge Hamilton for the world championship in 2020?

Driver profile

  • Team Renault
  • Points 27
  • Podiums 0
  • Grand Prix 19
  • Country VE
  • Date of b. Mar 9 1985 (36)
  • Place of b. Maracay, Aragua, VE
  • Weight 68 kg
  • Length 1.73 m
Show full profile

Team profile

Show full profile

Formula 1 Calendar - 2021

Date
Grand Prix
Circuit
-
Bahrain
26 - Mar 28 2021
Bahrain
16 - Apr 18 2021
Italy
30 - May 2 2021
Portugal
7 - May 9 2021
Spain
20 - May 23 2021
Monaco
4 - Jun 6 2021
Azerbaijan
18 - Jun 20 2021
France
25 - Jun 27 2021
Austria
2 - Jul 4 2021
Austria
16 - Jul 18 2021
United Kingdom
30 - Aug 1 2021
Hungary
27 - Aug 29 2021
Belgium
3 - Sep 5 2021
Netherlands
10 - Sep 12 2021
Italy
24 - Sep 26 2021
Russian
8 - Oct 10 2021
Japan
8 - Oct 10 2021
Turkey
22 - Oct 24 2021
United States of America
5 - Nov 7 2021
Mexico
12 - Nov 14 2021
Brazil
19 - Nov 21 2021
Qatar
3 - Dec 5 2021
Saudi Arabia
10 - Dec 12 2021
United Arab Emirates
-
United Arab Emirates
See full schedule

Formula 1 Calendar - 2021

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
26 - Mar 28 2021
16 - Apr 18 2021
30 - May 2 2021
7 - May 9 2021
20 - May 23 2021
Monaco Monte Carlo
4 - Jun 6 2021
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
18 - Jun 20 2021
France Paul Ricard
25 - Jun 27 2021
Austria Red Bull Ring
2 - Jul 4 2021
Austria Red Bull Ring
16 - Jul 18 2021
United Kingdom Silverstone
30 - Aug 1 2021
Hungary Hungaroring
27 - Aug 29 2021
3 - Sep 5 2021
Netherlands Circuit Zandvoort
10 - Sep 12 2021
Italy Monza
24 - Sep 26 2021
Russian Sochi Autodrom
8 - Oct 10 2021
8 - Oct 10 2021
Turkey Istanbul Park
22 - Oct 24 2021
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
5 - Nov 7 2021
12 - Nov 14 2021
Brazil Interlagos
19 - Nov 21 2021
3 - Dec 5 2021
Saudi Arabia Jeddah Street Circuit
10 - Dec 12 2021
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
-
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
See full schedule
show sidebar