Monday, 2 August 2010


Picture this. The man that’s second in the championship spins. The guy that’s leading the championship can’t quite avoid the spun car, tags it, and royally messes up his front wing. He manages to keep going, but he’s losing a second or two per lap... yet he doesn’t pit. After a few laps, he’s shown the black-and-orange flag. He’s still losing time, but he still doesn’t pit. Eventually he comes into the pits, but it’s too late – he’s been black flagged.

Imagine if the championship leader in F1 got black flagged. Imagine the media melee.

But not in GP2. This is what happened to Pastor Maldonado, GP2’s championship leader, in Race 2 at Hungary this weekend. And I want to know what the hell was going on.

I’ve hunted around for all the info I can. I’ve commented on the GP2 website (but my comment has never appeared?!). I’ve tweeted relevant insiders to see if they can tell me (but been ignored). The only thing I can find is half a sentence in the race summary on :

The Venezuelan was soon shown the black and orange flag for his broken front wing, which rapidly turned into a straight black version when he failed to return to the pits
I need MORE than this!

Before he got black-and-oranged, Pastor was losing close to 2 seconds a lap. I know a pitstop would have put him to the back of the grid, but at least he’d have had a fixed car and he could have done a Sam Bird and had a fun 20 minutes overtaking a few cars. But instead he kept going.

And then he got the black-and-orange flag, so he HAD to come into the pits. Fine. He clearly needed to anyway, he couldn’t keep going with the wing getting worse and with him losing so much time. OK.

But he still didn’t pit. I don’t understand. Here’s the scenarios I’ve got in my head:
  1. Major communication failure. He somehow didn’t realise he had to pit.
  2. Major stupidity. He thought he could get away without pitting.
  3. Major conservatism. He/the team decided it’d be better to call it a day without risking bashing up any other bits of the car. Perez and Clos were out of the points, so the championship lead would stay intact. Now, who fancies some brunch?

I'm not happy with any of these. They don't make sense. Surely communication couldn’t break down THAT badly? And wouldn’t he at the very least know his car was broken and slow? Or did he think it was the newly introduced and little-advertised Let's Drive Through Treacle race? 

And would he really have not pitted through simple bloody-mindedness or silliness? I don’t know. That seems... well... a bit bloody-minded. Or very silly. I can't get my head around it.

But would they really have got him blackflagged on purpose just so they could have an early bath?? Surely not?

I’m being driven to distraction. WHY DID HE NOT PIT?! Why am I the only person who cares?!


It’s like the “what on earth happened to him on the formation lap of Silverstone Race 1?!” question - utterly mystifying.

If you know what happened, or if you have a better theory than any of mine – do let me know.


  1. It's a shame because as the man leading the GP2 championship, he is the guy some teams will inevitably look at.
    That sort of behaviour will not endear him to team bosses; however winning the title as early as humanly possible may help them forget.

  2. Hi Leigh :)

    I adore him so I keep trying to think of reasons that don't come back to it being him just going "a pitstop?...nope!". The whole situation makes no sense, and (as you might be able to tell!) it's driving me to distraction not knowing the details.

    He's grown up such an awful lot over the past few years, he's been practically perfect this season... I guess everyone's allowed a little blip. (But I'd still like to believe it wasn't HIS blip...)

  3. I didn't see the race but in a situation like that the only sensible conclusion is that he didn't see the black and orange flag or he has Vettel syndrome and doesn't know the rules.

    Quite why he would see a black flag if he didn't see a black and orange flag I can't explain. I cannot imagine anyone seeing the flag and deciding to ignore it because the rules are if you ignore it you get black flagged and then get your wrists slapped.

    I look forward to reading your opinions and watching your blog grow