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Kevin Magnussen set to replace Pastor Maldonado at Renault

Dane expected to partner Jolyon Palmer next season

Kevin Magnussen is poised to replace Pastor Maldonado at Renault for the 2016 season, Sky Sports understands.

The team - then known as Lotus prior to Renault's buy-out in December - announced four months ago that Maldonado would be staying on. But the Venezuelan, reputed to pay almost £20m for his seat, is believed to have been ousted after backing from his sponsors dried up.

Renault, who will unveil their driver line-up as well as their new car at a media event next week in Paris, have refused to confirm or deny speculation that Maldonado has been dropped.

Magnussen was released by McLaren at the end of last year but is now set to partner English rookie Jolyon Palmer in 2016.

Reports first surfaced earlier this month that Magnussen had been at the team's Enstone base for two days of talks with senior management.

The highly-rated Dane drove for McLaren in 2014, scoring a podium finish on his debut, but was subsequently sidelined when Fernando Alonso returned to Woking to partner Jenson Button.

2016 schedule and line-ups
2016 schedule and line-ups

All the F1 dates for your diaries and confirmed driver line-ups

Despite winning the 2012 Spanish GP, Maldonado's five-year F1 career has been defined by controversy and collisions. Prior to leaving the Williams team for Lotus two years ago, he accused the Grove outfit of sabotaging his car ahead of the 2013 US GP and, unable to shrug off the tag of being a 'pay driver', a website was launched to keep a timetable of his many crashes.

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Manor are the only other team still yet to confirm the identity of their driver line-up for the new campaign with pre-season testing commencing on February 22 in Spain. 

The first Barcelona test starts on Monday February 22 and the Sky Sports F1 Digital team will be providing live commentary from dawn until dusk on all four days of both Barcelona tests while Sky Sports News HQ will also deliver live updates from trackside.

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