Formula 1 driver Pastor Maldonado has confirmed that he will not be on the grid when Formula 1 2016 begins in March.
In a long letter to fans, Maldonado explained that he will not be part of the lineup for the upcoming Formula 1 season. He also thanked them for their continuous support and concern for his future. This announcement comes after reports have surfaced that Maldonado’s sponsor, PDVSA, will not be able to make payment to the Lotus team in order to save the Venenzuelan driver’s seat. According to a report from AUTOSPORT.com, PDVSA, a state-owned oil and gas company, had been spending $46 million a year on Maldonado’s sponsorship. Kevin Magnussen is being tipped to take over Maldonado’s seat in the Renault team.
Maldonado joined Formula 1 back in 2011 as a rookie driver for Williams. It was a lackluster season for the Venenzuelan, however, having only finished with a single point and only going as far up as tenth place in Belgium. The following year, things were looking better for Maldonado as he secured his first pole and Grand Prix victory in Spain. However, he failed to score points in the next nine race, but managed to pick up points when he finished eighth in Japan. At this point in his career, Maldonado is already being singled out for multiple collisions. This will go on in the coming years. His problems with Williams continued all throughout 2013. The following year, Maldonado decided to sign with Lotus.
As he moved to Lotus, Maldonado struggled to make strides with an unreliable car. He was also out-classed by fellow Lotus driver Romain Grosjean and only managed to finish with points once he placed ninth in the US Grand Prix. Last season, Maldonado landed 14th place in driver standings, finishing the season with only 27 points.
Now that Maldonado is confirmed to be out of the new Renault (Lotus) team, it seems that the only chance the Venezuelan driver has of staying in Formula 1 is to try for a driver’s seat with Marussia.