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Pastor Maldonado not giving up on F1 return in 2017

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Pastor Maldonado remains hopeful of returning to Formula 1 in 2017 despite losing his seat with Renault for the coming season, according to manager Nicolas Todt.

Maldonado confirmed earlier this week that he would not be racing in F1 this year after negotiations between backers PDVSA and Renault collapsed.

The Venezuelan driver has been replaced by Kevin Magnussen for the coming season, as unveiled by Renault on Wednesday at an event in France.

However, Maldonado remains hopeful of returning to F1 in the future, with Todt already setting his sights on a place on the grid in 2017.

“We haven’t given up on F1 and we will be working to find a way back hopefully next year,” Todt told motorsport.com.

“As for this season, it is too early to say what he will be doing.”

Todt said that Maldonado would not be vying for the last two remaining seats on the F1 grid at Manor, believing that it would not be logical for his driver.

“Manor really is not an option,” Todt said.

“After five years with Williams and Lotus, with all due respect to the Manor, it does not make sense for the Pastor.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).