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Maldonado confirms Lotus departure

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 Maldonado’s only chance of landing a 2016 drive, with all other teams having confirmed their race line-ups.

From Formula 1