After being let go by McLaren Honda, it seems driver Kevin Magnussen will find himself driving another Formula 1 car for the 2016 season. Recent reports say that the young driver may have a seat with the new Renault team, seeming to indicate that Pastor Maldonado will have no car to drive this year.
Last December 18, Groupe Renault and Gravity Motorsport S.a.rl announced that they had completed its acquisition of the Lotus F1 Team Limited. Prior to the said announcement, new Lotus F1 driver Jolyon Palmer had announced that he will be driving for the team in the coming year. He is replacing Maldonado’s former teammate Romain Grosjean, who has moved to the Haas F1 team. For the moment, Maldonado is still named as the other team driver for 2016, where he will be competing for the third season. Meanwhile, the team is also continues to enjoy the services of development drivers Carmen Jordá and Hong Kong native Adderly Fong.
According to a recent report from motorsport.com though, it seems a payment dispute between Renault and Maldonado’s sponsor, Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, that is endangering the veteran driver’s seat in the team for the upcoming season. PDVSA supposedly only had until Friday to deliver its outstanding payment before the team looks to Magnussen to complete its driver lineup.
As of the moment, there is no word from Magnussen regarding his future in Formula 1 following his split the McLaren Honda team. Last year, McLaren boss Ron Dennis revealed that the team had chosen not to renew the driver’s contract due to Magnussen’s lack of performance. During an interview with Sky Sports, Dennis said, “He (Magnussen) was given every opportunity – a season in Formula 1 followed by very clear goals that he had to achieve in 2014, and he didn’t achieve those goals.”
Magnussen was last seen driving a Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM during a test at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain last December. Regarding the experience, Magnussen remarked, “I can imagine that racing in one of these cars is really enjoyable.”
The Formula 1 pre-season test is set to take place from February 22 to 25 and March 1 to 4 in Barcelona, Spain. The Lotus F1 team says their car will be ready for testing in Barcelona by end of February.