Pastor Maldonado says he is close to inking a deal that will see him secure a drive for the 2014 F1 season.

The Venezuelan is currently one of the key men in the driver market following his departure from Williams, and has been linked to a role with either Lotus or Sauber for next year.

Of the two, Maldonado is hotly tipped to be on his way to Lotus due the financial backing he can provide from PDVSA and he said he was now close to finalising an agreement with his team of choice for what will be his fourth season on the grid.

"We are quite close to be honest," he was quoted by ESPN. "We have been working very hard since many months ago and now we are just waiting for confirmation to finish all the stuff you need to do, contracts and everything.

"For sure I know [who I want to drive for]. With my team and Nicolas (Todt) we took the decision, so let's see. Until you sign you never know; I would prefer to sign and to be 100 per cent sure before it is announced ... it could be signed now, tonight, tomorrow, in one week, next month; we all are waiting to get the agreement done."

Despite the apparent breakdown of his relationship with Williams in recent weeks, Maldonado admitted he was thankful to the team for giving him the chance to move into F1, and said he was moving to pastures new as a better driver.

"I really learned a lot from the team," he said. "They gave me the opportunity to have Rubens Barrichello as my team-mate in the first year, last year we won a race which was very special for the team after many races without winning. Even looking at the situation we had this year it's looking not easy to get back to winning races. I think it was very special.

"This year I learned even more than the previous two seasons even if we did not achieve the targets but I feel ready now to choose something else."


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