Kevin Magnussen set to replace Pastor Maldonado at Renault

F1i 2/02/2016
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Kevin Magnussen.

Maldonado had been due to continue with the British-based outfit alongside Jolyon Palmer, son of former Formula One driver Jonathan Palmer.

Maldonado confirmed his departure on Twitter.

“Today with the biggest humility I inform you that I won’t be on the grid at the start of the 2016 season. Thanks for all the messages of support, passion and concerns about my future.

“I’m very thankful to God, my family, my sponsors, my friends, my fans and everybody who has helped me materialise this dream of having represented Venezuela in the pinnacle of motorsport. See you soon!”

According to Autosport, 23-year-old Magnussen will be confirmed as Maldonado’s replacement on Wednesday.

The young Dane returns to Formula One four months after losing his drive with McLaren.

Maldonado, the winner of the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, was let go after a hitch with funding from his backers, PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil and gas company.

The 30-year-old Venezuelan has started 95 grand prix over six seasons with Williams and then Lotus.

There are now only two seats still to be filled for 2016, at Manor Racing, with in the frame Germany’s Pascal Wehlein and Indonesian Rio Haryanto.

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Jolyon Palmer confirms permanent Formula One number

F1i 1/02/2016
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Jolyon Palmer drives during the Brazilian GP practice in November.

The Briton, who is preparing to make his grand prix debut with Renault in 2016, already sported #30 during the many FP1 and testing outings he enjoyed last season as Lotus reserve driver.

Before the start of the 2014 campaign, pilots were asked to pick a permanent number between 2 and 99, a move aimed at making them more recognisable and marketable. Only the reigning world champion may decide to race with #1, something Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has declined to do over the past two years.

However, the FIA allocates numbers to teams for their test and reserve drivers. While Palmer could have chosen to pick another number ahead of his maiden season, he elected to keep the one he had been given in 2015.

Last year’ regulations also brought some clarification by stating that racing numbers would be locked for two years after a driver completed his most recent race.

In the wake of Jules Bianchi’s death, F1’s governing body quickly moved to retire the late Frenchman’s #17 racing number.

Palmer was promoted to a full-time role at Enstone last October, some two months before Renault finalised its takeover of Lotus. Although rumours about the French manufacturer’s line-up have been swirlingsince then, the 25-year-old is set to be confirmed at Renault at its Wednesday 3 February media launch.

With Manor still yet to announce its driver pairing, Palmer remains the only F1 rookie on the 2016 grid so far.

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Gene Haas looking at Formula One as ‘trial and error’ experience

F1i 31/01/2016
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Learning from mistakes: Gene Haas.

As well prepared as Gene Haas believes his eponymous team is on the verge of its maiden Formula 1 season, he believes only experience will ultimately help the American outfit with its progress and development.

Speaking to Sports Business Daily Global on his team’s expectations for 2016 and its grand entry into Grand Prix racing, the Haas F1 Team founder claimed that the outfit’s first year would be all about learning.

“It will be a building experience,” Haas insisted.

“We are going to this party without really knowing what it’s like. We can sit there and watch what other people do but there’s nothing like being there. That’s going to be the experience.”

Despite his team’s detailed and thorough preparation, Haas knows all too well the pitfalls and snags which await any F1 newcomer.

He vows to learn however from the unavoidable perils and difficulties which will come his way.

“I think we are prepared, I think we will do well at it but you have to really be there to learn it. All the reading you can do and talking to other people, the challenge is being able to do it.

“I’m sure we will make tons of mistakes, correct those mistakes and be better prepared for each race.

“After we are done with those 21 races [this] year, we will have a whole year behind us and our notebook will be full of what we need to know. And we will do better after that.”

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