Jan.13 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Kevin Magnussen is reportedly in talks with Renault about replacing Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in 2016.
Having taken over Lotus, there has been speculation the French carmaker might be re-thinking the Enstone team’s contracts with Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer.
But it was British rookie Palmer who was believed to be most in danger, as Maldonado is backed by a reported $50 million a year in the form of controversial sponsorship by the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
PDVSA, however, is embroiled in a corruption scandal, and Britain’s Telegraph newspaper confirms that the “political uncertainty in Venezuela” has put a question-mark over Maldonado’s race seat.
At the same time, correspondent Daniel Johnson said it is the job-seeking former McLaren reserve Magnussen who is suddenly “in talks with the new-look Renault team”.
Citing sources, the newspaper added: “Magnussen was in the team’s Enstone factory (for) two days last week for talks with senior executives”.
But the more likely role for 23-year-old Magnussen, who has recently tested Le Mans and DTM cars, is the Renault reserve role, the report continued.
Renault did not comment.