It was announced yesterday that Kevin Magnussen looks set to return to Formula One racing this year after being tipped to replace Pastor Maldonado at Renault.
According to an report by Autosport that the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA must offer guarantees of funding to Renault in the coming days in order to keep Maldonado at the team, with Magnussen in line to take the seat if negotiations are unsuccessful.
PDVSA, which has bankrolled Maldonado’s career in F1 to date has been hit hard by a global decline in oil prices in recent months and reports of late sponsorship payments have put the Venezuelan driver’s future in doubt. Maldonado signed a contract to drive for the team last September, but that was before the then struggling Lotus outfit was taken over by Renault.
The termination of Maldonado’s contract would leave the door open for Magnussen to return to the F1 grid after he was dropped by McLaren at the end of last year. Magnussen raced a full season for McLaren in 2014 and took part in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix as a substitute for Fernando Alonso, who was recovering from concussion at the time.
However, his F1 career appeared to reach a dead-end when he was told on his birthday last year that his position as reserve driver would not be renewed.
If Magnussesn does join Renault he will partner 2014 GP2 champion and F1 rookie Jolyon Palmer this season. A final decision is expected ahead of Renault’s official launch of its new team in Paris on February 3.