Pastor Maldonado says he turned down the opportunity
to return to Formula 1 this season because the seat offered to him
The Venezuelan was replaced by Kevin
Magnussen at Renault ahead of the 2016 season, but had talks with a
number of teams about a return this year and had his hopes raised when
Nico Rosberg quit Mercedes.
But Maldonado says declined an offer to return and could not find an alternative that appealed.
“I have the experience and I had opportunities to come back here this year [in a race seat],” he told Motorsport.com.
“I was quite close to coming back but I decided not to. But if I
don’t have any good feeling, if I don’t have any guarantees to do in the
good way, it’s better to stay away – so I turned them down.”
Maldonado was personally sponsored by PDVSA, his country’s
state-owned oil and gas giant, to the tune of around $46 million per
PDVSA became involved in a dispute with Renault over payments that
resulted in it opting to tear up its deal, leaving Maldonado without a
The precarious state of the Venezuelan economy has cast doubts over
that backing going forward, but Maldonado insists that is not a
roadblock to his return.
“It’s quite tough – there is up and downs in the economy and
hopefully soon we can get out of this situation and the country will be
strong again,” said the 2012 Spanish GP winner.
“I don’t think it’s important – a return is still possible, it’s not
the only sponsor. I’m not here because I don’t want to be right now.”
Maldonado said he is not actively pursuing a return to F1 “at the moment” but said a return remains possible.
“I discovered there is something more interesting than F1 in life,”
he said. “It’s not everything. But I’m missing it because I dedicated my
entire life to motor racing – I started when I was six.
“When I wake up and decide ‘OK, it’s time to go back’, I will.”
When asked if he will do any racing this year, he said: “I will do something, but I don’t know what.”