Pastor Maldonado almost joined Ferrari in 2014, revealing he was in talks with the Scuderia as he was the “Verstappen” of the moment.
Maldonado entered F1 backed by state-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA.
He quickly became known as a pay driver and all the connotations that go with that while earning himself a reputation as a crasher.
Maldonado, though, saw things a little different.
“I was the only one, I was the new guy in F1,” he said in an interview with F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast.
“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.
“What was not clear was the relationship with the sponsors, of course.
“It was a lot of conflict of interest against the sponsors and we were negotiating about that.
“My sponsors were open to maybe not to be on the car or be with another company, they were open to find a solution to my career.
“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.”
Ferrari, though, instead went with Kimi Raikkonen, leaving the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner out in the cold.
“We lost the contacts and the communication and we focused on [elsewhere],” he said.
“I’ve never been to Maranello but we had a few meetings at the track.
“I met [then team boss Stefano] Domenicali a few times and I met also [Luca] di Montezemolo.”