The team currently known as Lotus has had a long string of accomplished drivers behind the wheel, including world champions like Nelson Piquet, Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. But Kimi is returning to Ferrari next season, leaving a big question mark over who would fill his seat. And now we have our answer.

Lotus has just announced that it has signed Pastor Maldonado to partner with Romain Grosjean for next season. The surprise winner of the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix has been driving for Williams for the past three seasons, signed after he won the GP2 title in 2010. Though lauded as an emerging talent, Maldonado is clearly not the accomplished champion Raikkonen is, however Lotus apparently needs the money which Maldonado brings with him in the form of sponsorship from the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean, also a former GP2 champion, has been with the team for some time now, starting as its test driver in 2008, promoted for one season to the race seat in 2009, and returning again in 2012. He's been the second driver at Lotus ever since, achieving career-best second-place finishes at the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix and 2013 United States Grand Prix. Whether it will be Grosjean (who gets the higher number) or Maldonado that emerges as the dominant force at Lotus remains to be seen. Scroll down for the complete press release.
Show full PR text
Grosjean and Maldonado to Drive for Lotus F1 Team in 2014

Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado [28] will join the Enstone squad alongside Frenchman Romain Grosjean [27] for the 2014 Formula 1 season

Pastor – a veteran of 58 Grand Prix starts, including pole position and victory at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix – has driven for Williams F1 Team since entering the sport at the start of the 2011 season.

Romain has raced for Lotus F1 Team since the start of the 2012 season, having previously driven for the Enstone outfit in its former guise of Renault F1 Team during the final seven races of the 2009 season, in addition to serving as third driver for the team in 2011.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"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."

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team Driver
"I am very happy to have official confirmation that I will be continuing to drive for Lotus F1 Team next season. 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."

Pastor Maldonado, 2014 Lotus F1 Team Driver
"It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014. 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."


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  • 24 Comments
      ChrisJC
      • 1 Year Ago
      Crashtor Maldonaldo gets the seat because money rules over talent in F1 these days. Lotus said their first choice was Hulk but they were waiting on the Quantum deal to decide if they needed talent or money. How about this little piece of info; Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg were teammates at ART Grand Prix in GP2 in 2009. It was Maldonado's 3rd season in the series and Hulkenberg's 1st. Hulkenberg outscored Maldonado 100 to 36, had 3 wins more, 8 podiums more, 3 pole positions more, 5 fastest laps more and only 1 retirement to Maldonado's 5. That tells evereything you need to know about which is the better driver. They'll need the money to pay for all the crashes and fines and possible merchandise loses that he'll bring along with him. His rookie teammate, Bottas, also exposed his ass this year. Then he threw his team under the bus. From the outside, as a fan, I just don't like his attitude or vibe. The fact he won a GP two years ago means little to me. I think they'll fall back to the midfield with this move. We'll see
        JanP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ChrisJC
        Lotus is really a midfield team. They did ok in 2012-2013 because they borrowed a lot of money from Genii Capital. I guess the goal was eventually to sell the team for profit or attract good sponsors. Either way, that didn't work and Lotus is now broke. Hiring Maldonado actually will give this fine team a chance to succeed again.
      Kuro Houou
      • 1 Year Ago
      Boo, was hoping he would be gone from f1, guess his money gets more attention then his driving skills. Hulkenberg deserves this spot imo more then anyone else, probably the best driver not in a top 3/4 team. Probably better then some of the drivers there too.
        JanP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kuro Houou
        One fallacy in the posts like yours is that Lotus is supposedly a top team. Lotus is not a top team. It's just a midfield team, and money matters a lot in the midfield. Lotus did well in 2012-13, but that's because they were running on borrowed money and time. It's now over. True top teams are rich enough not to care about hiring pay drivers. Lotus is broke, and it won't do Hulkenberg any good if they will have just enough money left to build a car that's as good as their 2011 chassis. Lotus made a sensible choice by going with one strong driver (Gorsjean, who matured a lot this year) and another pay driver who can be fast on his day too.
      bleexeo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sucks how good teams still need to hire pay drivers instead of the best drivers.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        How would that be an over/under? You mean the odds? Barring injury, 10-1 against.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          [blocked]
          ack154
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          You could maybe do an over/under on how many races...?
          Cayman
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          You could, that would be over/under on how many races before he's sacked, not on him getting booted before the season is over.
      sixspeedclutchhh
      • 1 Year Ago
      this is a disgrace to the sport AND lotus. maldonado's behavior this year was disgusting. if you follow the sport at all, and understand what really happened (i don't care enough to write a novel on it here than few will read), this news is absolutely nauseating.
        JanP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sixspeedclutchhh
        I disagree. We need a villain character in F1 and also someone who can be a target of occasional jokes. Also, if you would like to see a demise of Maldonado, it would be a lot more satisfying to see him demolished by someone like Grosjean on the race track instead of denied a seat for other reasons.
      Technoir
      • 1 Year Ago
      Along with hiring Maldonado, Lotus changes main sponsor to McDonald's.
      safeerexus
      • 1 Year Ago
      One things for sure, most if not all of the money he brings to Lotus will be spent on repairing the damage he causes to his car. Lotus can also kiss Constructors' championship points goodbye next season... Pathetic team.
      Tom Winch
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ride buying has been going on in F1 for decades, it's nothing new. Even 3 time F1 WDC Niki Lauda had to buy his rides with the first two teams he drove for, March in 1972 and BRM in 1973. He got his big break with Ferrari in 1974 after they hired Lauda's teammate at BRM, Clay Regazzoni, and he spoke so highly of Lauda that Ferrari hired him also. The rest is F1 history. That said, Maldonado is no Niki Lauda. Although he's had some flashes of potential, and he did drive a perfect race to win in Spain in 2012, he's no match for Hulkenberg, Perez, or for that matter DiResta, Sutil, or even Kovalainen. As ChrisJC pointed out, when Hulkenberg and Maldonado were teammates in GP2, Hulk a rookie and Maldo in his 3rd season, Hulkenberg soundly beat him. As much as I've been a fan of Lotus (and an even bigger fan of Kimi Raikkonen), this whole Quantum mess and their steadfastly holding on to that pipe dream, has left me hugely disappointed. It seems incomprehensible to me that, with Kimi Raikkonen leading the team the past two seasons and showing they can fight at the front with Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, & Mercedes, that the team couldn't find real sponsorship. With Force India looking like they'll have Hulkenberg and Perez driving next year, they could be the surprise team fighting at the front if they can provide a decent car. Between that, the new regs, and Kimi teaming with Alonso at Ferrari, next year's F1 season will be very interesting.
      Esteban Rápido
      • 1 Year Ago
      Worst F1 news of the year. I still think of the first race of 2012 when Maldonado shoved Grosjean right off the track. Time after time Maldonado has shown his true colors and his lack of speed relative to this rookie teammate. He is a careless a-hole and I hope the season goes very poorly for him.
      Robert Markoš
      • 1 Year Ago
      He brings money to a team in need of money. Logical signing.
        safeerexus
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Robert Markoš
        Logical? Have you seen the crashes he's had this year & the year before? He clearly has no spatial awareness of the vehicles around him. His rookie teammate has ouscored him 4:1 this year already. Expect to see a lot of DNF's for Lotus next year...
      Hek!
      • 1 Year Ago
      So he brings some $40m in sponsor money, what are the chances all of that and then some will be wasted on repair costs and fines? Even Petrov would have been a better choice... at least he's entertaining. -.-''
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hek!
        Probably 0%. Even if he wrecks out of every race, I doubt it would cost them $40M. It's mostly labor to fix the cars, which they are already paying anyway. And the fines for racing incidents are usually pretty small.
          Cayman
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          @Mike-- Okay, a few hundred thousand in parts (lets say $400K to be generous). 22 races are possible for the 2014 season (lets assume none are canceled and he crashes out of each). Now, without using a calculator do you think 22 x $400K is more or less than $40M? Take your time, there is no rush here. F1 is wildly expensive, but much of that expense is in the team salaries (which is a sunk cost) and R/D.
          Mike Jones
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          Are you kidding me? A car costs a few hundred thousand in parts, they still have to pay for the materials.
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