Pastor Maldonado has confirmed that he will be leaving Formula 1, with Kevin Magnussen set to replace him at Lotus.
The 30-year-old’s future has been the topic of much discussion in recent weeks after reports emerged alleging that his sponsors had not made the agreed payments which secured his seat with Lotus. The Venezuelan is personally sponsored by PDVSA, a state-owned oil and gas company.
Maldonado has now released a statement announcing that he will not be racing in Formula 1 in 2016.
“As everyone knows, in recent days, there have been a number of rumours about my immediate future in Formula 1,” he said.
“Today I most humbly inform you I will not be present on the starting grid for the 2016 F1 season.”
“Thanks for all your messages of support, passion and concern for my future.
“I feel very honoured, with the support of all of you and proud of my professional performance.
“I thank God, my family, my sponsors, my friends, my fans and all who have helped me realise this great dream of being able to represent Venezuela in the pinnacle of motorsport.
“See you soon.”
Maldonado began his career with Williams, spending three seasons with the Grove-based outfit before joining Lotus in 2014. He made 95 starts in F1, with the highlight undoubtedly his shock victory in Spain in 2012.
While it has not yet officially been confirmed, it is widely believed that Magnussen will step into the vacated seat at Lotus, partnering Jolyon Palmer. Magnussen has been without a team since parting ways with McLaren at the end of last year, having spent 2015 as the team’s reserve driver.