Pastor Maldonado claims he 'expected' Ferrari switch in 2014

Former F1 driver Pastor Maldonado

Ex-Formula 1 driver Pastor Maldonado says he expected to move to Ferrari in 2014, insisting discussions had taken place between his team and the Italian outfit, but were ultimately scuppered by management changes.

Maldonado joined the F1 grid with Williams in 2011 as the then reigning Formula 2 champion. However Williams, having finished sixth in 2010, experienced a dip in performance which contributed to the Venezuelan scoring just a single point. 

He spent a further two seasons with the Grove outfit, famously taking an unexpected victory at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, but admitted the relationship fell apart as it became clear Williams were struggling to recover from their plight.

That led to a switch to Lotus, but Maldonado revealed in an episode of F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast that a potential move to Ferrari was on the cards.

"We were expecting to have the best car ever in the history of Williams," said Maldonado. "And we had the worst car ever.

"I was the new guy in F1. It’s like [Max] Verstappen at the moment. Like Robert Kubica at his time. I was the guy at the time. People were coming to me, they were happy to talk to me, and they were happy to discuss me.

"At some point we got very close to Ferrari. I was expecting the move at the time. That was my time. It was the moment to have a second chance, not to fight to try to show [my ability] every day, because it was impossible."

However he says those plans were scuppered when team boss Stefano Domenicali stepped down, which was then followed by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

"We lost the contacts and the communication and we focused on [elsewhere]," he added. "I’ve never been to Maranello but we had a few meetings at the track. I met Domenicali a few times and I met also di Montezemolo."

Although admitting he is "happy" with what he achieved in the sport, despite often being the subject of memes, Maldonado says he still looks at drivers and thinks he could achieve more than them.

"When you see drivers in F1 you said ‘oh my God, I can do that better than this’. Even now. But maybe it’s not my moment anymore."