Magnussen to replace Maldonado at Renault for 2016 - Report
Kevin Magnussen is poised to replace Pastor Maldonado at the Renault F1 team for the 2016 season, Autosport reports.
Doubt was recently cast over Maldonado's future in F1 due to late payments from sponsor PDVSA - Venezuela’s state oil and gas company - and a steep decline in oil prices.
Maldonado was confirmed for a third season at the Enstone-based squad in September but Autosport understands a disagreement between Renault and PDVSA has led to the cancellation of his contract.
Sources say Magnussen is set to sign a deal with Renault over the next few days and will be officially announced as one of its drivers, partnering rookie Jolyon Palmer, at a launch event in Paris next Wednesday.
Magnussen reportedly has £5 million ($7.2m) in backing from Danish sponsor Bestseller, which owns clothing brand Jack & Jones.
There is a small chance Maldonado could still retain his seat if a new deal can be agreed upon, but the likelihood of that happening is slim and Renault has already approached Magnussen to replace the Venezuelan.
Magnussen made his F1 debut in 2014 for McLaren, after winning the previous year’s Formula Renault 3.5 title. He finished second on his debut and placed 11th in the final standings.
But Fernando Alonso’s return to McLaren in 2015 demoted Magnussen to the Woking-based squad’s reserve driver role. In October, on his birthday, he was told his services were no longer needed and he left McLaren.
Maldonado looks set to be left without a seat on the grid for the 2016 season. He competed for Williams from 2011 to 2013, but made the switch to Renault – then racing under the Lotus banner – for the 2014 season. Two spots are still available for the coming season at Manor, where Magnussen was in the frame for a seat.