Pastor Maldonado is working on a “plan B” that would involve racing in other series if his attempts to return to Formula 1 next year are unsuccessful.
The Venezuelan is speaking to a number of teams about a return to the grid in 2017 after he lost his Lotus/Renault seat to Kevin Magnussen. F1 remains his priority, but Maldonado is realistic about the fact it may not happen and as a result is looking at alternatives.
“We are working for a plan B because you never know in F1,” Maldonado, who raced in F1 for five years. “I have a good chance to come back but as a professional, we need to have a plan B.
“We are looking around as there are many interesting series in Europe, even in the USA which is an alternative.”
Maldonado said he would favor single-seater championships like IndyCar and Formula E or series such as the World Endurance Championship and DTM but all but ruled out NASCAR.
“Maybe NASCAR not because it’s completely different,” he said. “I started my career in Europe and it would be difficult, but not impossible for me to go there [to the USA] and do NASCAR as it’s another type of racing.
“WEC is very interesting and there is DTM which is interesting. There is IndyCar, which is a single-seater car and more my style. So these three series plus Formula E are possibilities. We’ll see.”
Maldonado, who was at Enstone working with his team when he got the call to say he would not be driving this year, said the late decision meant it was difficult for him to find an alternative.
“When decision came out, it very late and it was game over for this season,” he said. “It was February already. I was looking around a bit and I got some good chances but not what I wanted in terms of teams and other series. It’s difficult being a winning driver here to go to suffer in other series.
“At the time it was not the end of the world as I’ve seen many other drivers in the same conditions, Magnussen was one and [Nico] Hulkenberg was one. Even Kimi [Raikkonen] was one of them in the same conditions and they are back and back even stronger.”
In the interim, Maldonado has regained an F1 role as part of Pirelli’s test program.
“Pirelli called me and I had this opportunity to do tyre testing for them,” he said. “It was important for me to have Pirelli – they believe in me and they chose me to do this important work.
“Everyone is talking about the tires. It is a big responsibility. It’s a great chance and I thank them for it.”