Maldonado considers himself ‘lucky’ to have left Renault

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Pastor Maldonado considers himself “lucky” to have left Renault’s Formula 1 project at the beginning of the season given its on-track difficulties in 2016.

Maldonado raced for Lotus in 2014 and 2015 before the team was bought by Renault at the end of last year.

Maldonado was initially confirmed to be taking one of the seats, before cutting ties with the team during pre-season when his backing fell through.

Kevin Magnussen was drafted in to partner Jolyon Palmer, but both have struggled for pace in the opening half of the season, collectively scoring just one top-10 finish in the opening nine races.

Maldonado has been undertaking testing for F1 tire supplier Pirelli, but made a surprise appearance in the IndyCar paddock at Iowa Speedway on Saturday ahead of the Iowa Corn 300.

Speaking to NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno in Iowa, Maldonado said that he considered himself lucky to have left Renault given its difficulties in 2016, while also shedding light on Lotus’ financial troubles.

“I think I’m very lucky because looking at the situation with the team, I think I’m very lucky to leave that situation again,” Maldonado said.

“The last two years, they were horrible in the team. We were running out of budget and it was very, very difficult.

“But at the same time, we learned a lot to survive with that and to do our best with what we have at the time.

“I think it was a good moment to stay out for a bit.”

Maldonado is refusing to give up on his F1 dream, but would only return if he can race in a competitive car and battle for points.

“I will try of course. But the situation must be guaranteed,” Maldonado said.

“It’s very difficult to win and very difficult to have the best car.

“But of course I would like to have a team in Formula 1 to give me the opportunity to fight for points regularly.”