F1's resident entertainer or pantomime villain? Few drivers divide opinion quite like Pastor Maldonado, who enters his third season in the sport still very much an enigma.
On the one hand the Williams driver possesses the kind of natural speed that few can match - as his confident Spanish GP victory and numerous outstanding Q3 performances underlined in 2012 - but often his hard work went undone by unexplained rushes of Venezuelan blood which saw him penalised by the stewards more times than any other driver.
Still, it's the first side of that equation that continues to offer Williams hope for the future and has helped Maldonado begin to shake off the rather unfair 'pay driver' tag that accompanied his F1 arrival in 2011.
While the financial backing he brought to Grove through his association with Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA was, and is, substantial, the rising star has some serious results to justify the funding, coupled with the fact that he was putting his country back on the F1 map for the first time since Johnny Cecotto in the early-1980s.
Maldonado was, after all, the 2010 GP2 Champion and a former Champion of Italian Formula Renault. Indeed, he was also the only driver to have won six successive feature races in a single season of GP2.
The South American's first taste of F1 action actually came in 2004 when he tested with Minardi. Williams team boss Frank Williams had long been an admirer of Maldonado, saying he first caught his eye in 2007. His impressive 2010 GP2 campaign convinced the Grove-based team to hand him the driving duties for the Young Drivers' Test in Abu Dhabi at the conclusion of that season.
He clearly did enough during the test as the team confirmed his signing a few days later and teamed him up with veteran Rubens Barrichello. Life in Formula 1 got off to a very difficult start for the Venezuelan, though, as he retired in his first two races in Australia and Malaysia. He finally managed to see the chequered flag in China, but it was from a disappointing P18 spot.
With Williams struggling for pace and reliability, Maldonado was always going to find it difficult to make much of an impact and despite a confident performance at Monaco - where he ran sixth in the closing laps before a collision with Lewis Hamilton - he had to wait until the 12th race of the season in Belgium to pick up his first point.
Although there were more encouraging signs during the latter half of the year, it proved to be Maldonado's one and only point during his debut season as the once all-conquering Grove team slumped to the worst ever season in their history.
A subsequent technical overhaul, and the arrival of Renault engines, improved things dramatically for 2012 and the FW34 - in Maldonado's hands at least - was a potent race machine from the off. So much so that the Venezuelan was on course to finish at least sixth in Melbourne until he threw the car off the road while, perhaps unwisely, continuing to hunt down Fernando Alonso on the final lap.
Still, no-one expected what was to come four races later in Barcelona. After qualifying on the front row out of the blue, he started on pole for the first time after Hamilton was sent to the back of the grid, and then in the race flawlessly beat home hero Alonso to score one of the most unlikely victories of recent times.
But rather than following in the footsteps of many first-time winners and growing in stature and performance, Maldonado's season and results lurched the other way. He was involved in a succession of incidents and accidents over the summer months - including side-swiping Hamilton while attempting a pass for the podium late on in Valencia.
Indeed, it wasn't until Japan - some 10 races on from his supposed 'breakthrough' win - that he finished in the points again. Although he insisted he hadn't, and wouldn't, reign in his now trademark aggressive style, Maldonado did nonetheless appear to adopt a more measured approach in the final flyaways as further points finishes in Abu Dhabi (fifth) and Austin (ninth) seemed to testify.
But the jury remains out as to which side of the intriguing Maldonado equation will be more prominent in 2013.