Renault is finally back in Formula One with its own team after acquiring a controlling stake in cash-strapped Lotus F1 at the end of last year. But that’s not the only bit of good news for fans as it has been confirmed that Pastor Maldonado won’t be a part of the new squad.
As the BBC reports, the Venezuelan will be replaced by the very competent Danish driver Kevin Magnussen, currently a reserve at McLaren. Renault’s other driver was previously confirmed as British driver and 2014’s GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer.
A formal announcement is expected to be made in Paris tomorrow. It’s also thought that Renault will show off its 2016 F1 car at the event.
Pastor Maldonado receives his new Lotus Evora S
Maldonado enjoyed five years in F1, starting with Williams in 2011 and then joining Lotus in 2014. The one time he made the podium was after winning the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix. Over the years, he’s gained notoriety for the number of accidents he's caused, though he did manage to keep many of the races exciting. It’s also well known that he brought plenty of sponsorship dollars from Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA. However, due to the crash in oil prices, it’s been confirmed that PDVSA hasn’t paid its contracted amount of $46 million to Renault this year.
Magnussen, on the other hand, showed plenty of promise after replacing Sergio Perez at McLaren in 2014. Despite performance that was comparable with aging teammate Jenson Button, the youngster was demoted to reserve driver after McLaren signed up another aging driver, Fernando Alonso. Given the shocking performance of the team last year, Magnussen is probably counting his blessings and looking forward to a fresh start at Renault.