Former F1 driver Pastor Maldonado says he is 'very lucky' to have been dropped by the Renault team ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season given their current lack of competitiveness.
The notorious Venezuelan was set to continue with Renault following the French firm's acquisition of Lotus over the winter, only to be dropped when it became apparent the substantial sponsorship money he brought from the state-backed PDVSA oil firm wouldn't materialise.
Replaced by Kevin Magnussen, Maldonado – who famously won the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix in a Williams but became renowned for his numerous on-track scrapes – has failed to land a full-time drive since.
Nonetheless, he maintains he would rather not be racing with Renault anyway based on its lacklustre form.
“I think I'm very lucky because looking at the situation with the team, I think I'm very lucky to leave that situation again,” he told NBC Sports
“The last two years, they were horrible in the team. We were running out of budget and it was very, very difficult.
“But at the same time, we learned a lot to survive with that and to do our best with what we have at the time. I think it was a good moment to stay out for a bit.”
Though Maldonado has not ruled out a return to F1 if the right deal came along, he is rumoured to be considering options in IndyCar.