Pastor Maldonado could lose his 2016 race seat at Renault due to a late payment from sponsors PDVSA, with team officials heading to Venezuela to try and solve the problem that has arisen.
If the oil company is found to have breached their contract, it could open up the possibility of a change in the Formula 1 team’s driver line-up for the season, with former McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen being linked with Maldonado’s seat having been released from his reserve driver role towards the end of the 2015 season.
It is believed that Magnussen has backing from Denmark, being long associated with the clothing company and its brand Jack & Jones. Last year, Magnussen had discussions with Lotus F1 management but these ended when Jolyon Palmer was officially confirmed a driver in October.
Sources have indicated that Renault were not entirely happy with the possibility of a Maldonado/Palmer line-up for their first year as a works team. When contracts were signed by management, including useful sponsorship, Renault welcomed the driver line-up.
Discussions with the Dane have resumed with the knowledge of his visit to Enstone last week, with a reserve driver role also a possibility. Palmer’s position within the team is unaffected and is scheduled to make his Formula 1 debut in Australia in March.