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Maldonado confirms Lotus departure

01 Feb 2016

Pastor Maldonado has revealed that he has left the Lotus team ahead of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The Venezuelan had been due to continue with the team, but will now be absent when they reveal their new Renault identity later this week - with former McLaren racer Kevin Magnussen widely tipped as his replacement.

Maldonado came into Formula One racing in 2011 as the reigning GP2 champion and scored his sole victory with Williams in Spain the following season, before moving to Lotus for 2014.

In a statement posted via Twitter, Maldonado commented: "Today with the biggest humility I inform you that I won't be on the grid at the start of the 2016 season. Thanks for all the messages of support, passion and concerns about my future.

"I'm very thankful to God, my family, my sponsors, my friends, my fans and everybody who has helped me materialise this dream of having represented Venezuela in the pinnacle of motorsport. See you soon!"

With Magnussen expected to be confirmed as Jolyon Palmer’s Renault team mate on Wednesday, Marussia are now the only team yet to confirm their race line-up for the new season.

Over an F1 career spanning 95 Grand Prix starts, 30-year-old Maldonado has scored a total of 76 points, though his 2012 victory in Barcelona - where he also took pole position - remains his only podium finish to date.