Maldonado: F1 exit 'a bolt from the blue'
14 February 2016 – Pastor Maldonado says that losing his Formula 1 seat ahead of the 2016 campaign came as a "bolt from the blue", having initially been set to remain on the grid with the reformed Renault works outfit.
Maldonado raced in Formula 1 for Williams and Lotus between 2011 and 2015 and last September the team announced he would be retained, with Renault honouring his contract once it took over the Enstone operation.
However, the worsening political and economic situation in Maldonado's native Venezuela led to sponsorship issues with state-owned PDVSA and he was dropped by Renault in favour of Kevin Magnussen.
"There was not a clear agreement and the situation developed in a few hours," he explained to Autosprint.
"I found myself without a sponsor, and the rest came as a result. It was a bolt from the blue."
Maldonado was reluctant to provide further details on the sponsorship issues but nonetheless highlighted PDVSA's efforts in supporting drivers.
"These are sensitive issues," he said. "I have yet to understand [it] and [I] think only to work for an alternative way to keep running.
"PDVSA has so far done a great job and the state programme gave support also to other drivers – such as EJ Viso and Samin Gómez – and in various sports."
Maldonado's management made clear shortly after his Renault exit that they were eyeing a return to Formula 1 in 2017.