Renault sends heartfelt goodbye to ‘bright’ Maldonado

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Renault has taken to its social media channels to thank Pastor Maldonado, who was supposed to return for a third year at Enstone until sponsorship issues led to the Venezuelan’s demise.

Maldonado had a contract with Renault, having signed an extension with its previous guise Lotus last September, but his future grew perilously bleak following a lack of payments from state-owned oil company PDVSA.

With both parties unable to settle the dispute, Renault elevated former McLaren-Honda racer Kevin Magnussen to a full-time role after initially holding talks about its third driver position.

“After two years of loyal service, we would like to say a heartfelt goodbye and thank you to Pastor Maldonado,” Renault tweeted on its official account.

“While his ontrack performance has been discussed plenty by fans and pundits alike, we enjoyed working with a bright, friendly, extremely funny guy who got on brilliantly with everyone in the team and pushed tirelessly to get the maximum out of his car.”

“Thank you very much for two years of fun, Pastor. We will miss you!”

Although Maldonado’s plight has allowed Magnussen to return to F1, the Dane told reporters at the Renault launch that he felt sorry for the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner.

“I have full respect for Pastor, I've been in his situation and I know it's tough so I feel for him,” Magnussen said. “But I'm sure he will have success in whatever he will do next.”

Palmer, who was preparing to partner Maldonado after collaborating with him in his Lotus reserve capacity last year, was equally sympathetic with the 30-year-old.

“I do feel sorry for Pastor, he’s a really nice guy,” the Briton said. “I worked with him for a year and I got on very well with him. So I feel sorry for him, it has come very late.”

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