Walking black cloud/pay driver Pastor Maldonado seems to have lucked out for 2016. Despite a looming Renault purchase of the struggling Lotus Formula One team, they still need money. Fortunately, they know just the fellow who can bring the cash: current driver Pastor Maldonado.
Pastor is the first teammate to have been confirmed for 2016, as rumors that Lotus’ other driver Romain Grosjean may join the new Haas F1 team are still up in the air.
Maldonado hasn’t exactly redeemed himself with his performance. He’s been outqualified by his teammate for all but one race this year, and everyone’s familiar with his tendency to crash. For better or for worse, he’s only been at fault for a handful of incidents this year, and the rest were just bad luck. Still, he sits fourteenth out of 21 drivers this season in the world driver’s championship points, scoring only 12 points for the season.
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According to Sky Sports, Renault sealed the deal Friday morning to repurchase the Lotus team to be their new works entry in Formula One. This happened mere hours after the team had to appear before the High Court over unpaid taxes.
Those unpaid taxes are like job security for F1’s most notorious pay driver. He brings the cash, and then he brings the crash.
Maldonado had this to say about the 2016 seat to Sky Sports:
It’s great that the team can confirm my position as race driver for 2016. Obviously, there has been a lot of speculation about the future and whilst I have remained focused on my job on track it is also positive to know that my future is confirmed.
This season has presented us with some challenges but the quality of the squad at Enstone is clear to see. I really feel part of the family at Enstone and I’m looking forward to building on the work done this year to deliver better results in 2016.
Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog confirms that Maldonado and his deep-pocketed sponsor PDVSA have always had one more year in their contract, but negotiations over selling the team to Renault put that contract in doubt. If anything, the announcement of Maldonado staying is confirmation of Lotus’ continued existence as a team.
“We hope to be able to make further positive announcements regarding the team in the near future,” Lotus team boss Gerard Lopez told Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog.
Future! As long as this means that we won’t have another team waffling on and off the grid (or worse, dropping out entirely) due to financial issues, putting up with another year of Maldonado on the grid may actually be good news.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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