Lotus confirmed on Saturday that Pastor Maldonado is staying put for 2015
Team boss Gerard Lopez hopes he can achieve "great things" with Venezuelan
By Mike Wise at Hockenheim
Last Updated: 20/07/14 8:31am
Lotus Team Principal Gerard Lopez confirmed on Saturday that they will retain Pastor Maldonado for the 2015 season.
Speaking on the team’s website, Lopez said the Venezuelan would stay on even though he has yet to score a World Championship point since joining from Williams at the end of last year.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but as it’s half way through the season I can confirm 50% of our driver line-up for 2015 as Pastor is with us for next year,” he said.
“Despite the difficulties we’ve had so far this season, he recognises our true potential as a team and we recognise his true potential as a driver. We will achieve great things together.”
Lopez’s ambition currently seems a long way off, with Lotus forced to play catch up ever since the late launch of their car pre-season.
Struggling like all Renault-supplied teams with the French manufacturer’s power unit, Lotus appear destined to switch to Mercedes power next season.
Team-mate Romain Grosjean did offer a hint of promise around the time of the Spanish GP, where he finished eighth after qualifying fifth, but the Enstone team have slipped back again since then.
Grosjean – who has said his future at the team is “open” – lines up 14th for Sunday’s German GP while Maldonado could only set the 19th fastest time.
Both drivers have been forced to grapple with Lotus’s E22 at Hockenheim and the team have openly admitted that the clampdown on FRIC suspension systems has hurt them.
The team’s cashflow problems are well-documented, of course, and although Maldonado has a victory to his name, at the 2012 Spanish GP, there is no doubt that the multi-million dollar backing he receives from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has sweetened the deal.
Watch the 2014 German GP live only on Sky Sports F1. Race-day coverage from Hockenheim begins at 11.30am on Sunday