Pastor Maldonado: I won't be on the Formula One grid next season

01 Feb 2016 18:23

Pastor Maldonado has revealed he will not be on the Formula One grid next season with Kevin Magnussen, the former McLaren driver, widely tipped to replace him.

Maldonado signed a new deal with Lotus, who have since formally been taken over by Renault, in September.

But the error-prone Venezuelan announced on Monday he will not be taking his seat for the forthcoming campaign.

Maldonado, who made his grand prix bow for Williams in 2011, was heavily backed by Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA.

But that money - reported to be in the region of more than £30million for the upcoming season - has since dried up and Renault opted to release him.

Magnussen, who raced for McLaren in 2014 before he was moved sideways following the arrival of two-time champion Fernando Alonso, is set to be unveiled as Maldonado's replacement.

The 23-year-old Dane will partner Briton Jolyon Palmer, the former GP2 champion, who makes his Formula One debut this year. Renault are expected to officially reveal their new driver line-up in Paris on Wednesday.

"Today with much humility I must inform you I won't be on the grid at the start of the 2016 season," Maldonado said in a statement on Monday night.

"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 realise this dream of having represented Venezuela in the pinnacle of motorsport. See you soon!"

Maldonado competed in almost a century of races and won the Spanish Grand Prix for Williams, the British team's last victory, in 2012. But his career in the sport has been blighted by number of high-profile crashes and errors.

Manor are the only team yet to unveil their line-up for the new season, which gets under way in Melbourne on March 20.