Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer says they sympathise with axed Renault driver Pastor Maldonado after he was dropped from the team just days before the manufacturer officially launched its return to F1.
The Venezuelan was originally signed, along with Palmer, to race for Lotus, but while Renault was intending to honour the agreements when it completed the takeover of the Enstone-based squad, the failure by Maldonado's sponsors to meet agreed financial terms forced it to drop him.
As a result, Magnussen has been called up as a last minute replacement, the Dane driver getting a renewed shot at F1 after losing his place in the McLaren team towards the end of 2015.
Though a major boost for his career, Magnussen says he can empathise with Maldonado's plight having been in a similar scenario.
“I don't know if he will come to the races. I have full respect for Pastor, I've been in his situation and I know it's tough so I feel for him. But I'm sure he will have success in whatever he will do next.”
Similarly Palmer, who worked alongside Maldonado in his role as reserve driver at Lotus last year, concedes it is a disappointing situation for him.
“I do feel sorry for Pastor, he's a really nice guy. I worked with him for a year and I got on very well with him. So I feel sorry for him, it has come very late.
“It was a winter of uncertainty and definitely he signed his deal with Lotus clearly and when the agreement between Lotus and Renault came round I don't know how he stood but there was still some uncertainty around it. So I mean it's not wholly unexpected I guess.”
With Magnussen – who was originally in line for a reserve seat before Maldonado's problems – promoted to racer, Esteban Ocon will be the team's third driver despite being under a Mercedes contract.