Lotus confirms Maldonado for 2014
Pastor Maldonado will drive alongside Romain Grosjean at Lotus in 2014, the team confirmed on Friday.
The long-awaited announcement should be the key to the driver market, allowing Force India to confirm a deal with Nico Hulkenberg, who was also in talks with Lotus. Maldonado is leaving Williams after a difficult year with the team and is looking forward to starting afresh with Lotus.
"It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014," he said. "It's no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula One career and Lotus F1 Team offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season. The regulations and cars will change significantly so it is a very good time for a fresh start. I can't wait to be racing in black and gold."
The delay in an announcement has partly been due to ongoing negotiations between Lotus and potential investors Quantum Motorsport to help secure the team's financial future. However, Maldonado is expected to bring Venezuelan sponsors PDVSA, which should help the team secure a healthy budget for next season.
"It is clear that Pastor has pace and potential - demonstrated by his 2010 GP2 Series title success and then through strong races throughout his career at Williams F1 Team - and we are convinced that we will be able to provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track," team principal Eric Boullier said. "We have been working on our new car in alignment with the new regulations for over two years and we are confident that we have a very good solution to all the challenges ahead. With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year."
Grosjean secured his future at the team with a series of good results towards the end of the season and is hoping to build on that success next year.
"I am very happy to have official confirmation that I will be continuing to drive for Lotus F1 Team next season," he said. "This past year has been tremendously satisfying for me. We have worked well together, and I know everyone at Enstone is motivated to continue the fight for every last point available. I am very excited about next year's car and I cannot wait to get out on track for pre-season testing before heading to Australia for the first race of the season."