Pastor Maldonado has confirmed that after two years with the Lotus F1 Team, he will be leaving the Enstone-based outfit, now officially the Renault works team, ahead of the Formula 1 2016 season.
The Venezuelan driver has ongoing sponsorship problems with the state-owned oil company PDVSA, with late payments from the sponsor to Renault, and this caused team officials to head to Venezuela to try and solve the problem. Former McLaren F1 Team race and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen is tipped to be Maldonado’s replacement.
In a statement posted on his official Twitter, Maldonado said, “Today with the biggest humility I inform you that I won’t be on the grid at the start of the 2016 season. Thanks for all the messages of support, passion and concerns about my future.
“I’m very thankful to God, my family, my sponsors, my friends, my fans and everybody who has helped me materialise this dream of having represented Venezuela in the pinnacle of motorsport. See you soon!”
Renault have yet to confirm whether Magnussen will join Jolyon Palmer on the 2016 grid, with the Enstone team set to confirm their new team name, management team and driver line-up this Wednesday at a media event in Paris.
A car livery is also planned to be unveiled by the team but there is no confirmation to say if this will be on a modified version of their 2015 chassis or their new 2016 chassis.
Palmer announced on his twitter account over the weekend that he will race with the #30 during his Formula 1 career, the same number as he used during his free practice outings with Lotus in 2015.