Pastor Maldonado not worried about F1 future

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Pastor Maldonado is not concerned about his future in Formula 1 despite the newly-appointed Venezuelan sports minister saying that the government would no longer be investing in motorsport.

Maldonado’s career has been supported by state oil company PDVSA, whose sponsorship played a big part in securing him a seat with Lotus for 2014 after three years with Williams. However, after a scandal surrounding government investment in motorsport unfurled last year, there were concerns about his future.

In a recent interview, sports minister Antonio Alvarez said that “there will not be one more dollar for motor racing”. However, Maldonado is not concerned.

“It was exactly the same last year, and here I am,” he told journalists in Monaco. “I think always when Venezuela is moving or whatever, you always relate that with me.

“Last year there was a big impact history in motorsport, for the Venezuelan government and all the Venezuelan guys, because most of these drivers were stealing money from the government, and apart from that PDVSA is not my sponsor it’s a team sponsor.

“I don’t know the real situation against the team and against PDVSA.The best thing would be to ask the team or the PDVSA guys.”

The Venezuelan driver has enjoyed some success when working with PDVSA, winning the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix and the GP2 title back in 2010, and he sees no reason for this to come to an end.

“I have a good relationship,” Maldonado said. “We’ve been working for very long, more than 10 years at the moment, and I don’t see any reason to stop. If they stop, it’s not my decision.”

He may have gained a slightly crash-happy reputation in Formula 1, but Maldonado has shown occasional signs of potential. It would be interesting to see whether any team would pick him up without this sponsorship. Should it get withdrawn, it could also have implications on Lotus’ future.

For the time being though, Maldonado and Lotus will be hoping for a successful weekend in Monaco this weekend.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”