Magnussen to replace Maldonado at Renault

Magnussen 2014 McLaren garage.jpg

Ian Parkes of Autosport has reported that former McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen will replace Pastor Maldonado at the Renault F1 Team for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

This change of drivers is understood to be the result of a falling out between the French automaker, and Venezuela's state-owned oil giant PDVSA, which has supported Maldonado as his main sponsor throughout most of his racing career. PDVSA, who brings $46 million USD annually to F1 through Maldonado - one of the richest sponsorships in all of F1 - has been late on payments, as Venezuela faces further economic instability in the wake of a huge crash on the price of oil, along with prolonged political unrest in the country.

Talks between Renault and PDVSA executives earlier in the month did not bring the two parties closer to resolving the situation than before it began, and it is understood that Renault will break ties with Maldonado, and sign Magnussen in his place for 2016.

Magnussen, 23, was not retained by McLaren Honda four months ago, after spending 2015 as the team's primary reserve driver behind former World Champions Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. The Dane finished 11th in his rookie year of Formula 1 in 2014, scoring his only podium finish of the season on his McLaren debut - a 2nd place at the Australian Grand Prix. He amassed 55 points and retired just once in nineteen rounds.

Prior to that, Magnussen was the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 (now Formula V8 3.5) champion, and his father Jan was a Formula 1 driver for McLaren and Stewart in 1995, 1997, and 1998.

Maldonado Spa 2014 BW.jpg

Maldonado has one Formula 1 Grand Prix victory to his name - at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, driving for Williams F1 Team - but has not recorded a podium finish since. Often the subject of scrutiny for his over-aggressive driving style, Maldonado's 14th place finish in the World Championship last season, with 27 points and a joint-best finish of seventh, was the best championship result in his five-year F1 tenure.

Renault will launch their new Formula 1 team next Wednesday, and are now expected to confirm Magnussen as the lead driver alongside rookie Jolyon Palmer, who steps up from the reserve driver role at Lotus after winning the GP2 Series title in 2014.

Should Renault confirm a lineup of Magnussen and Palmer, it would leave Manor Racing Team as the only available option left for Maldonado to remain in Formula 1 in 2016. But with the current economic situation affecting PDVSA, they may be reluctant to continue their sponsorship of Maldonado, which would likely leave the Venezuelan driver out of the sport. Magnussen was previously linked to the Manor team for 2016, as were incumbent drivers Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens, and GP2 driver Rio Haryanto.

What do you think of Renault's decision to sign Kevin Magnussen in place of Pastor Maldonado? Be sure to leave a comment below and discuss!

Image Credit: McLaren, Lotus F1 Team
Finally. 5 years of him causing 2+ cars not to start or finish the race is over. Might be more overtaking now there will be more cars on track.

Magnussen deserves a seat and another crack at it.
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Well whose balls we gonna break now?? Pastor could have put that car into the wall every race and it wouldn't matter he had so much money coming in..........oh wait he did put it into the wall every race :laugh:

But this squares it for Mag if its true. He got a raw deal. Glad he gets a new shot.
The best the can do replace knaldonado:ninja: with Magnussen.... this guy can not drive and its a shame for the autosport, only the mony have bring him to formula one.:geek:

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