Maldonado and Perez: more F1 handbags
The argument between Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez ratcheted up another notch at Silverstone this weekend.
After Maldonado hit Perez, the latter said of Maldonado "he has no respect for other drivers" and "he is dangerous."
The race stewards were not impressed either. They hit Maldonado with a 10,000 Euro fine and a reprimand. A statement issued by the stewards said Maldonado was guilty of causing a collision, and because of the serious nature of the incident it was decided he would be given two penalties.
There does seem to be a growing feeling that Maldonado needs taking in hand. The level-headed David Coulthard talked about his "previous form", especially his behaviour in taking out Lewis Hamilton at Monaco. Coulthard also said it was a real problem when you had a driver that just denied everything despite all the evidence.
There is certainly a long history of accident-prone drivers in F1. Older readers may remember 1980s driver Andrea de Cesaris, who was known universally as "Andrea de Crasharis". However, the sport is less tolerant of excesses today. F1 is rightly proud of its huge increases in safety and is more likely to come down hard on drivers felt to be reckless.
The other problem for Maldonado is that he is not yet a big enough name to be untouchable. In his long career, Michael Schumacher has done some pretty controversial things, but he never faced a really serious penalty. It would be a lot easier to make a big example of a relatively new driver like Maldonado – to be blunt, no-one outside Venezuela would really care.