Maldonado confirmed at Lotus for 2016

2016 F1 season

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Pastor Maldonado will continue to drive for Lotus in 2016, the team has confirmed.

Maldonado will remain at the team for a third season having joined them in 2014. However the team’s future is unclear as it is currently facing a legal challenge in the High Court and may be subject to a takeover by Renault.

Lotus chairman Gerard Lopez said: “It’s a positive for the future of Lotus F1 Team that we are able to confirm publicly that Pastor remains with us for next season.”

“Everyone at Enstone will testify that Pastor is a terrific person to work with and we all know the performances he is capable of on track,” he added.

“Obviously there has been a lot of speculation about the future,” said Maldonado, “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.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Maldonado confirmed at Lotus for 2016”

  1. Firstly: ‘Oh no…’

    Secondly: Is this first of two announcements?
    1. Pastor Maldonado confirmed at Lotus
    2. Lotus to become Renault, all previous Lotus contracts void.

    One can but hope…

    1. Hopefully there is something in that contract which says PDVSA sponsors the Enstone team, so their funding stays ;)

    2. Like your optimism but his money is helping the Renault deal happen. The very fact he’s been announced suggests the Renault deal is done.

      Just hope this isn’t the final straw for JB.

    3. I rather think that the cheque from PDVSA now clearing was critical to the team surviving and possibly critical to a budget for next year adding up @bradley13.

      Renault has been looking for money from Infinity, Total and FOM to get their budget together, now PDVSA fills a gap and i can imagine Pic bringing some money to fill a further gap. Off course its also possible they will sign Vergne or someone completely different – Palmer might be an option, and he also brings some budget I would think.

      1. @bascb Are they keeping Carmen Jorda?

        1. why not, Bernie likes it, it gets them some TV time every race, and they probably get some money from it too @jcost.

      2. I think you’re right, there. I can’t imagine Renault would be too keen on buying Lotus and then having to sort out all its debts. A few tens of millions from PDVSA will help clear up the financial mess Lotus is in. After all, 2016 would always be a transition year for Renault, if they did buy Lotus. Might as well stabilise the team before aiming for championship glory.

  2. Aka “Lotus happy to confirm PDVSA for another year”

  3. we all know the performances he is capable of on track

    Well, it is impossible to disagree with that one.

    1. @girts +1 ahahaha, indeed

    2. I want to work under him.. Best boss in the world..!!

    3. @girts I was gonna say that: loved the phrasing! ahahaha

  4. Absolutely unbelievable! I thought I saw the last of this joke in Formula 1! Perhaps Lotus are proud of keeping the worst driver on the grid. What does Maldonado bring to the team apart from money and crashing?

    1. @ultimateuzair More money, money, and arrogance.

      1. That should go to the Oscars :)

    2. Lots of excitement by bringing safety car, entertainment and more entertainment…!!

    3. Well he did bring Williams their last win and did drive well when he got points. Button ruined the fun when crashing into him.

    4. If they have to choose between not being in f1 and being in f1 with Maldonado, i can understand that they take the latter.

    5. If FOM had a better money distribution system Lotus would dump him, blame it on Bernie and CVC.

  5. he must bring a lot more money than I thought. Cause there is no way it’s not expensive to replace everything he breaks.

    1. Last time I heard about this it was about $35M. Which is huge, especially for a team this size! Honestly, they need it. And you know you’re deep, deep in it when you desperately need Maldonado to stay on your team!

      1. @clemsiemckenzie Actually this Autosport article states it as being around $50milion-per-season.

        1. @force-maikel Jesus. That’s as much as Toyota is spending for a whole WEC year. That’s just crazy!

  6. Loading this page at 5am with that huge photo just gave me a shock of my life.

    @keithcollantine plz

  7. Your comment on twitter to link to this was brilliant

  8. Is anyone suprised? They are in serious financial trouble and this may ensure that the team can pay the staff wages this year. Wasn’t there a rumour that PDSA withheld a payment this year due to nothing being announced?

    1. yes, I have also seen mention that the money from PDVSA for next year not arriving due to uncertainty over the team was one of the reasons they find themselves in court with administration hanging over their heads David.

  9. They had 50 million reasons to retain his services…

  10. Perhaps, this is done to give comfort to Renault on the financial part for next year? But logically the damage and potential loss to points that Maldonado has caused just does not outweigh the money he brings, or maybe I’m just wrong.

    1. Maldo brings in $50m (says Autosport). Even if they switched him for a guy pulling in $20m, they’d need to win the championship instead of finishing sixth to make up the difference.

  11. Well Grosjean said numerous times on French TV that his future was safe. Meanwhile Prost said no Renault deal had been struck yet. You have to believe Grosjean has signed for Haas… the signing of Maldonado just doesn’t seem like something Renault would do to launch a new viable platform.

    Anyway, a funny news to cap off a mad week end, fitting.

    1. F1i is saying that Grosjean to Haas is basically confirmed (!)

  12. I thought that this would make the Renault deal a lot harder as I assume Renault would want a Total sponsor and not PDVSA due to conflicting sponsorship, unless Total no longer wish to act like a ‘partner’ with Renault.

    1. There’s no way Total won’t be a partner of Renault.

      Along with PDVSA, Renault could even end up with Infiniti as sponsors. They won’t have any issues in the finances department if they have all these sponsors on board.

  13. Makes sense. He brings a lot of money into the team and despite popular opinion he is a quick driver. I don’t get the perception that he is the worst driver on the grid. Incident prone, perhaps, but worst? Far from it. Sometimes I wonder if people have completely forgotten that he has won a Grand Prix on merit.

    1. @anto With all due respect towards your opinion, I do rate Stevens and Ericsson higher than Maldonado. And they are the worst drivers I can think of from the current field. They’re unspectacular, average, call it whatever, but they’re consistent and they tend to stick to the racing line a lot more than Maldonado does.

      1. In fairness Ericsson is much improved now. Finally finding his feet.

  14. The real question is what kind of scheme are Lotus pulling? We have confirmation that they are 5 days away from a potential Renault decision. Why bother announcing anything driver-related right now when the only focus is on your future as a team.

    Are they trying to project some financial balance? Are they trying to get an advance-payment from PDVSA as it could buy Renault some more time? Are they trying to sort themselves up with a fallback option in case the Renault buy-in doesn’t happen?

    The bad news is that if Maldonado isn’t stupid he put a pretty hefty compensation fee in that contract, which I don’t think Renault will be willing to pay on top of a very costly PDVSA withdrawal, even if they take over. I think Maldonado will be on the grid for another year, whether anyone likes it or not.

    1. The way I see it, by confirming Maldonado now they have all the options. They can use him or not use him. If they use him, they keep the money. If they don’t use him, they will have to pay back the money. But they have both options.

  15. that face at the mma staredown scene, scary af.

  16. And I thought his days were numbered…. Man, this is an embarrasing piece of press release!

    Everyone at Enstone will testify that Pastor is a terrific person to work with and we all know the performances he is capable of on track

    HAHA! Never thought Lotus would be just as epic in twitter as in their press releases! So funny!

    1. @fer-no65 Maybe it’s the same person writing both to save cash :P

    2. this made my Monday and I nearly spat out my coffee….

  17. I honestly feel Pastor isn’t a bad driver, he just is in the wrong series. He’s a driver who seems to get a bit blinded towards potential consequences when attacking or defending. In open-wheeled cars, that means accidents and more often than not, race-ending or hampering damage.

    I’d actually like to see him in a touring car or stock car series, since he clearly isn’t going to change his driving style the way Grosjean did. Might as well move to a series that have less fragile cars and could turn him into a really popular guy (looking at how Earnhardt Sr. and Jason Plato gained their fans).

    To add to some of the people speculating about PDVSA payments, recently some reputable sources claimed they used to pay teams half a year in advance, so they probably paid in June for 2012 up until this year. It’s been said Lotus’ problems stemmed from having budgeted that money for 2016, but not having gotten it due to Maldonado not being signed yet.

  18. I’ve read that it’s Bernie’s fault. He wouldn’t pay Renault upfront their historic team money, and they need their bills paid. As soon as PM is confirmed they get the 50mil from PDVSA which will get them out of a lot of trouble and allow them time to sort out their finances during the takeover

    As much as I think Crashtor Walldonado is a waste of a good seat, they really didn’t have any other choice, or there would be no team at all left

  19. Is this April’s fool? It is not April. Please someone tell me it’s April…

  20. Possibly an insurance policy of sorts in the case of no deal with Renault. Better for Lotus to announce now to reassure creditors. A rather sad announcement none the less.

    1. Renault is to buy Toro Rosso not Lotus as part of a Redbull separation agreement .

  21. imagine how boring f1 would be without loldonado.. we need him!! lol

  22. Unbelievable! Isn’t there anyone in Venezuela who gives a you know what that so much of their money is being wasted on this talentless joke? How on earth can he keep getting so much sponsorship in this day and age?

  23. Maldonado is a good driver and he deserve a place in F1. The problem is: Lotus is .too unreliable in this year. He and Grosjean lost a lot of points due the retirements by mechanical problems.

    I don’t know why people keep saying he is a bad driver. A bad driver can’t win a race, especially against a two times world champion.

    1. At this point, I’m willing to say that win was a fluke. Just a rare occasion when he could keep the car on the track. A good driver doesn’t get three driver related penalties in a single race.

    2. If Maldonado is a good driver… then who on earth do you consider a bad driver?

  24. Lotus is secretly getting a bonus payment from Bernie to provide on track carnage.

  25. This is legit amazing news. Dude has speed and whether you like it or not, he brings cash like Perez and a few others and is entertaining.

    F1 without Pastor Maldonado would be so very dull. On ya Pastor. More wins than Bottas, Hulkenberg, Perez, Grosjean and well anyone else who has 0 wins.

    Guy who won Williams a race which Massa, Bottas, Webber, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Nakajima, Barrichello, Hulkenberg and Wurz couldn’t do.

    1. Maldonado is awesome no doubt about that. If it wasn’t for his comical driving and absolute lack of intelligence, these races would be a borefest.

      The number of safety cars he has brought out has definitely added spice to the races.
      When it comes to crashes… lets face it… Massa, Bottas, Heidfeld, Webber, Rosberg… blah blah .. none of them could match his streak of destruction.

      If the WDC was decided on penalty points, then Pastor Maldonado would be setting the bar higher than Senna and Clark did at regular racing.

      After all these years Pastor stays true to his form, and other than a fluke win in Barcelona, he comes to the track every time and makes a fool of himself. He has less than 1/3rd the points total of his teammate, but he has 30 times more money. Good for him and the F1!!!

  26. The maths on his $$ just doesn’t seem to add up to me …

    He doesn’t bring as many points as a driver that crashes considerably less would. Take this season … Grosjean has 38pts, and Pastor has 12. He should be roughly equal to Romain with the same car, as most teammates are this year (Ric & Kvy, Bot & Mas, Hulk & Per for example).

    If he had the same number of points as Romain, Lotus would be ahead of FI in the standings. He is costing them millions in constructors prize $$ and large bills to replace parts.

    Keeping him makes no sense in any way, shape or form. Especially if Renault is buying the team as rumored.

    It just seems like the $$ would wash out. Better to get a young GP2 driver, or someone like Buemi or JEV or Alguersuari among many other options out there that would more consistently being some points race on race.

  27. Maldonado could even buy Lotus, something the mighty Renault can’t seem to afford.
    Maldonado has the potential but he just finds himself in difficult situations much too often.

  28. McLaren will be struggling for money soon I thought he might end up there.

  29. Maldonado in F1? That joke just isn’t funny any more…

  30. The worst driver on the grid will be occupying a seat in one of the three works team on the grid. Renault better use Pastor’s money to buy Alonso… coz it’s a shame how they lost Romain

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