First it was Milka Dunno, the talentless Venezuelan driver sponsored by state owned oil company PDVSA, who acted as a rolling chicane in the IndyCar series. Dunno’s primary talent was the cash she brought to teams Dreyer & Reinbold (2008 and 2009) and Dale Coyne Racing (2010), proving that huge dollars from a socialist dictator with a personal hatred for the Untied States matter mare than the ability to drive a race car. It looks like Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez loves his motorsports, because he just had PDVSA write a check for $14 million to the Williams F1 team. In exchange, Williams driver Nico Hülkenberg was sent packing, despite having given Williams it’s only pole position of the 2010 F1 season.
Taking his place at Williams will be Pastor Maldonado, the Venezuelan driver who captured the GP2 championship in 2010. Maldonado has flirted with F1 before, nearly landing rides with Campos Meta (who became Hispania Racing) and Stefan Grand Prix (who didn’t field a team) for the 2010 season. It’s customary for GP2 champions to graduate to F1, but more often than not they spend time as test or development drivers before being thrown into the ranks of front line competition. Maldonado, who isn’t shy about his socialist politics or friendship with Hugo Chavez, will certainly have his work cut out for him this season.