• Italian Grand Prix

Stewards are stricter in 2012 - Maldonado

ESPN Staff
September 6, 2012 « Grosjean apologised to Alonso | Hamilton unsure of 2013 drive »
Pastor Maldonado was given a five-place grid penalty for clashing with Timo Glock at Spa, which was added to another five-place penalty for a jump start © Getty Images
Related Links

Pastor Maldonado believes the stewards have been harsher this year than they were last year when penalising mistakes by drivers.

Maldonado has had seven penalties for driving offences this year and comes to this weekend's Italian Grand Prix with a 10-place grid penalty for a jump start and a first corner clash in Belgium. However, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was given the first race ban since 1994 at Spa-Francorchamps for causing a collision at the start, and Maldonado said the drivers now need to adapt to the stewards' hardline approach.

"The rules are the same but the way the stewards were with the drivers was more flexible [last year," Maldonado said. "Maybe this year they seem to be more hard; not only for me but for everyone. It seems to be that they like no contact in the race or anything close to the limit. We need to respect that. I think that's one change for this year, because even last year they were not so hard on that. But we need to adapt ourselves to the stewards and that's it. The best result is to not be in the stewards' room."

Maldonado's penalties have contributed towards his struggle for points since his victory at the Spanish Grand Prix eight races ago, but he insists the team is still looking forward.

"Here in the team there are no big problems, but we've missed a lot of points this season and it's time to do well and time to recover," he said. "The first thing is to be away from the stewards and after that I will do my racing and my races."

He said it was difficult to make a straightforward change to stay away from the stewards, but that he would try to evaluate each situation better from the cockpit.

"Everytime you are on the track you must evaluate the situations. It's difficult to say I will change this or that, we need to think more and evaluate more the situations. It's difficult to say now I will change this or that - I need to think more and evaluate the situation in the car."

Asked if his accidents might cause Williams to rethink signing him for another year, Maldonado said: "I don't know, maybe yes, we don't know. We need to wait, but it's difficult because at the moment everything is together as a team and we need some points. We are doing our best every time and I'm leading the team and I need to respond."