Lotus has confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will partner Romain Grosjean at the Enstone-based outfit in 2014.
Maldonado, who found himself surplus to requirements at Williams following the signing of Felipe Massa, will join Lotus after three seasons with the Grove-based squad, during which time he took his maiden pole position and victory in Formula One at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula 1 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.”
Romain Grosjean, who impressed with a string of podium finishes during the second half of the season, enhancing his reputation after a 2012 filled with accidents, will be retained by the Lotus team for a third consecutive year.
“I am very happy to have official confirmation that I will be continuing to drive for Lotus F1 Team next season,” explained the Frenchman. “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.”
Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier expressed his excitement at his team’s line-up for 2014, with the Frenchman adamant that the Enstone-based squad, who finished fourth in the Constructors’ Championship in 2013, can cause some surprises next season.
“It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team next season. He has really made the most of his tremendous talent over the latter part of the 2013 season and will be a fantastic asset to our 2014 challenge.
“Romain will be joined by Pastor Maldonado; a driver I have known since he drove for me at DAMS in the 2005 World Series by Renault 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.
“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.”
The announcement that Pastor Maldonado will join Lotus brings to an end months of speculation that Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg would join the team as a replacement for the Ferrari bound Kimi Raikkonen.
It is thought that the financial backing brought by Maldonado, from Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, negates the need for Lotus’ potential deal with Quantum Motorsports, who have long been linked with a deal to invest in the team, a deal which has been beset by constant delays.
Image courtesy of Pirelli Media