PARIS: Pastor Maldonado revealed on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) he had lost the drive with Renault for this season, with reports suggesting Kevin Magnussen was poised to join the former Lotus team.
Maldonado had been due to continue with the British-based outfit alongside Jolyon Palmer, son of former Formula One driver Jonathan Palmer.
Maldonado confirmed his departure on Twitter.
“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,” he said.
“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 motor sports. See you soon!,” Maldonado added.
According to Autosport, 23-year-old Magnussen will be confirmed as Maldonado’s replacement on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
The young Dane returns to Formula One four months after losing his drive with McLaren.
Maldonado, the winner of the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, was let go after a hitch with funding from his backers, PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil and gas company.
The 30-year-old Venezuelan has started 95 grand prix over six seasons with Williams and then Lotus.
There are now only two seats still to be filled for 2016, at Manor Racing, with in the frame Germany’s Pascal Wehlein and Indonesian Rio Haryanto.
Maldonado was the first Venezuelan in almost 30 years to make it to the Formula One grid. Despite some strong qualifying performances in 2011, Maldonado came away with a single point for tenth place in Belgium, though he did at least retain his seat for 2012.
With a new technical team and the addition of Renault engines, his team was in much better shape in 2012 and Maldonado took full advantage, proving his speed by consistently qualifying in the top ten. The high point of the year was his impeccable drive to victory from pole position in Spain, where he held off the charge of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. The Venezuelan struggled to reach those heights again however, regularly getting involved in on-track clashes and ending up in the stewards’ room when he could have been scoring points the same year.
AFP AND F1.COM