Former McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen is believed to have reached an agreement with Renault’s new works Formula 1 team for the upcoming 2016 season.
The deal would see him replace Pastor Maldonado after sources confirmed the 23-year-old is to sign a deal with the former Lotus squad, before being officially announced at Renault’s launch next Wednesday in Paris.
According to Autosport, a disagreement between Renault and Pastor Maldonado’s long time sponsor, PDVSA, is the reason behind the late cancellation of the Venezuelan’s contract.
Magnussen spent 2014 with McLaren partnering Jenson Button where he finished 11th in the drivers’ championship, making an appearance on the podium in his first race in Australia.
The Dane was then demoted to a reserve driver role to make way for the return of Fernando Alonso and was subsequently dropped in October on his birthday.
It is believed that a small window of opportunity still exists for the French car manufacturer and PDVSA to reach a last minute deal and for Maldonado to keep his seat, however, with the deal unlikely to be settled, Renault turned to give Magnussen a second chance in Formula 1.
This would almost certainly see Maldonado’s five-year stint in Formula 1 come to an end, after three seasons and one win with Williams, and two seasons with Lotus.
Maldonado’s last chance of cementing a spot on the 2016 grid would be to snatch one of Manor’s two vacant seats. PDVSA sponsor Maldonado to the sum of $46 million, which would be a mouth-watering prospect for a backmarker team such as Manor. Although, a deal would require last minute negotiations, and with the political and economic instability in Venezuela along with oil prices falling, it may cause PDVSA to drop its Formula 1 involvement.
Image via XPB Images & Lotus F1 Team