Maldonado's race seat paid in advance

Despite the rumours surrounding Pastor Maldonado’s future in Formula One this season Lotus team boss Fedrico Gastaldi has revealed his race seat has never been under threat and his sponsors paid in advance to guarantee him a race seat up until the end of the 2016 season.

There was a lot of speculation around his future until we arrived for the Singapore Grand Prix where it was announced he would once again drive for Lotus for the upcoming 2016 season. This was not a surprise to most despite the uncertainty surrounding Lotus’s inclusion in the Championship next season due to their financial issues, but with it being reported Maldonado’s backer PDVSA pay an estimated $27 million a year to Lotus for his drive it would have been a bigger shock if they didn’t retain not only his services but his funding as well.

Galstadi also confirmed that keeping Maldonado for another season was just a formality as agreed in the contract he signed with Lotus back in 2014 after he was not retained by Williams.

Galstadi went on to say “We signed Pastor for three years,”  “[In Singapore] we confirmed him just as a routine we had agreed with his sponsors. We did it last year in Monza. Monza was the previous race before Singapore and we just only announced it a week after that because that’s what’s been agreed on the documents.

“But when I hear people saying ‘Pastor is going here or there’ or something about his sponsors, it has been all normal, all in place, all perfect. When I hear about the payments, they have paid in advance. So I don’t know who or why people start inventing those situations. He was signed for three years, the last year is the end of 2016.”

So far Maldonado is the only driver confirmed by Lotus with Grosjean opting to join the newly formed Haas Racing team for the upcoming season, I do not expect any further drive announcements from Lotus until their talks with Renault regarding a potential takeover of the team from the start of the 2016 season have been concluded and the finances are in order.

By: Chris Laker
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