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DATE News (chronologically)
11/17/13
f1
Now Maldonado knows how Michael Andretti was sabotaged (Update) UPDATE Deputy team chief Claire Williams on Saturday rejected all insinuations of sabotage made by want-away driver Pastor Maldonado against the British Formula One team.

Venezuelan Maldonado had suggested his poor performance in qualifying at the United States Grand Prix was the result of "dirty tricks" including altering tire pressures and temperatures.

He told reporters: "I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressure and the temperatures."

When asked to explain and elaborate, he added: "You need to ask the team, the guys that are working on the car, it is quite clear..."

In Saturday's qualifying session, Maldonado failed to make progress beyond Q1 while team-mate Valtteri Bottas reached the top ten shootout and qualified ninth, nine places ahead of him.

Williams later said: "Qualifying is a big adrenaline rush for drivers and so I'm not surprised by that, people say things after these kind of situations.

"We will go back and talk to the engineers and find out what happened, but never in Williams' history would we ever do anything like that."

Two days earlier, in a pre-race media news briefing, a prickly Maldonado told reporters: "I think I delivered more to the team than they did for me."

The moody Maldonado, who has been at Williams for three years, has scored the team's only point this year and last year won the Spanish Grand Prix.

Williams, daughter of team founder and principal Frank Williams, denied widespread rumors of a bad-tempered split in the team.

"Within the team, behind closed doors, it's not acrimonious," she said. "There's not that kind of atmosphere in the team. I don't see any sort of issue.

"Pastor has said he wants to go to another team and that's absolutely fine -- this is Formula One. It's the nature of the beast."

11/17/13 Pastor Maldonado claimed on Saturday at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin that Williams Formula One team had deliberately made his life difficult in qualifying for the U.S. Grand Prix. Relations between the Venezuelan and his team have become increasingly strained since he made it clear that he was leaving at season's end.

One Saturday, Maldonado qualified 18th, while teammate Valtteri Bottas made it all the way through to the final qualifying session and will start ninth. After stepping out of his car, Maldonado told TV reporters: “You need to ask them, the guys that are working on the car, it is quite clear.”

Asked why he was slower than Bottas, Maldonado said: “I never got 100 percent. I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressure and the temperatures. But it's one more race to go so that's great...”

At a later media session, he had only slightly toned down his thoughts, when asked if his car had been deliberately handicapped.

“Maybe, maybe not but I never feel something like that," Maldonado said. "I know very well how the car is. Even from the beginning of the season it was quite tough for us, but I never [felt anything] like that.

“I drove for three years in the team and I never [felt] something like that. The car is nowhere, the car is undriveable, and it's very clear on the on-boards and the data where and when I'm suffering on the track. The car was turning more to one side than the other.”

Not surprisingly, the team has denied the claims and said that Maldonado simply didn't get the tires into the right operating window AutoWeek

[Editor's Note: Now Maldonado understands how a team can sabotage a driver. In the heyday of hydraulic suspensions controlled from the pit box, and at the height of Ecclestone's desire to kill off the powerful CART Series by making them look inferior, Michael Andretti's car was sabotaged to handle poorly. This after getting zero preseason testing and the one year the rules were changed to give drivers just 7 laps in most sessions. Andretti had no experience on the F1 tracks. He was setup to fail. It was the biggest farce in the history of F1.]
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