Pastor Maldonado sponsors PDVSA paid Lotus 'in advance' for 2016

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Pastor Maldonado's seat at Lotus has never been under threat and his sponsors "paid in advance" through to the end of 2016, according to team boss Federico Gastaldi.

Maldonado was confirmed for another season at Lotus in Singapore despite uncertainty over the cash-strapped team's future, with Renault still in takeover talks. Lotus receives substantial funding from Maldonado's backers, Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, which has been estimated to be in the region of $27 million a year.

Gastaldi says Maldonado, who joined Lotus from Williams in 2014, is in the middle of a three-year contract and admits confirming the 30-year-old for another season was just a formality.

"We signed Pastor for three years," Gastaldi told F1i. "[In Singapore] we confirmed him just as a routine we had agreed with his sponsors. We did it last year in Monza. Monza was the previous race before Singapore and we just only announced it a week after that because that's what's been agreed on the documents.

"But when I hear people saying 'Pastor is going here or there' or something about his sponsors, it has been all normal, all in place, all perfect. When I hear about the payments, they have paid in advance. So I don't know who or why people start inventing those situations. He was signed for three years, the last year is the end of 2016."

Maldonado's team-mate for 2016 is still uncertain following Romain Grosjean's decision to sign for Haas F1 ahead of its debut. The team's line-up is unlikely to be announced until the conclusion of its talks with Renault about a takeover next season.

If successful in its takeover bid, Renault has been linked with Jean-Eric Vergne and Kevin Magnussen, while it may decide to promte current Lotus reserve driver and 2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer.