ALAN BALDWINLONDON, England - It would be unfair, if tempting, to say that Pastor Maldonado is enduring a car crash of a Formula 1 season.Apart from several collisions, the Venezuelan driver has also endured exhaust problems, engine failures and penalties in 12 races for Lotus without scoring a point in return. By his own admission, he's having a terrible time. And yet, despite it all, the 29-year-old is still smiling and confident that his time will come.ALL SMILESMaldondo told Reuters in an interview before drawing another blank at the 2014 Belgian GP on August 24: "There is no point in being sad. We are here, with good people around, in F1, good support from Venezuela, good support from the family. For sure I am suffering that I am not fighting for good results but there is no point to be sad."I feel strong. We need just to put everything together, be focused, calm, and it's possible. If the team has done it in the past, it can do it again."Maldonado is not the only drive to have left a team on the rise for one less competitive. Germany's Adrian Sutil moved from Force India to Sauber and failed to score but his situation has been the most eye-catching.Williams scored only five points in 2013; Lotus finished fourth with 315 and won the Australian season-opener with Kimi Raikkonen.It was already clear when Raikkonen left for Ferrari, however, that Lotus, which won titles as Benetton and Renault, had cash-flow problems while Williams had a spring in its step. Soon enough, the tables were turned.CHALLENGING FOR THIRDWilliams, once a dominant champion team, is on the rise and challenging for third overall with 150 points while Lotus has struggled with reliability and is eighth with eight points - all scored by Frenchman Romain Grosjean - but Maldonado - the first Venezuelan to win a GP - was not disheartened."Disastrous choice? I spent three years with Williams," he said. "I always said it was a good three years. It was my beginning in F1, for my career and experience, and I started with a good team but in 2013 it was time to explore something different."I chose this team because it was the best place available at the time, looking through the history of the team and what the team is. It's a champion team, good people, big experience."I think actually you can have a tough season, as Williams had in 2013 and Williams is having a good 2014. It's a bit unlucky because I am having a terrible one but at the same time I'm learning a lot."I hope 2015will be much better, as Williams is now. Even better, who knows? We are working very hard, it's a great team... great ideas - and showed potential in the past."STAY CALMWhile Williams switched from Renault engines to the dominant Mercedes ones for 2014, Lotus stuck with Renault and has struggled with reliability. Other Renault teams such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso overcame them but Lotus, which started on the back foot after missing the first test, still has a way to go.Despite that Maldonado - who brings a substantial amount of money to the team through the backing of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA - was sure the potential was there.With Lotus in the frame to switch to Mercedes units in 2015, taking on the supply vacated by McLaren, he was prepared to chalk 2014 as a learning year."For sure I want to win again," said the man who won in Spain for Williams in 2012. "Every driver wants to. I'm not happy for the results but we are working very hard and I remember when I arrived at Williams in 2011 we were waiting for a good car and we had a terrible season."The year after, 2012, we won a race and were many times fighting for good points, good races. You can have some bad years in F1," he added. "The important thing is to stay together, stay calm and wait for your time."That has not always been easy, however.TOUGH TIMESMaldonado managed only 29 laps from the Australian season-opener before the car stopped. In Malaysia he had a collision on Lap 1 and in Bahrain collected a grid penalty after a collision with the Sauber driven by Mexican Esteban Gutierrez.There was another crash in qualifying in Spain (more penalty points) and in Monaco he didn't start due to a fuel-supply problem.Canada brought a power unit failure, Britain another big collision (Gutierrez again) while Hungary saw a collision with Marussia's Jules Bianchi. In Belgium he parked up with an exhaust problem.Despite the setbacks the Venezuelan - who has a contract for 2015 - had no doubt he was a better driver than the one who also attracted headlines at Williams for race incidents."At the beginning of the year I was struggling a lot because first of all I did not do the pre-season," he explained. "The first three or four races I didn't finish because of the car. So all was delayed."It's all about experience. This is maybe the first step and the next one will be to build the car around my needs. To stay in the team for two or three years would be the best solution.Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.