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2013-12-02 08:39

Alan Baldwin

NEW BEGINNINGS: Williams'driver Pastor Maldonado has found a new team with Lotus for the 2014 F1 season. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Lotus has confirmed the signing of Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in a move that will trigger a domino effect on the Formula 1 drivers' market.

The British-based team said well-funded Maldonado, who had spent three years with Williams, would partner Frenchman Romain Grosjean.

He will replace 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen, who is returning to Ferrari.

NEW HERO?

Maldonado said: "It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus for 2014. It's no secret that I've wanted a change of scenery to help push on with my F1 career. Lotus offered the best opportunity for me to be competitive.

"The regulations and cars will change significantly so it is a very good time for a fresh start. I can't wait to be racing in black and gold."

Maldonado's departure from Williams was announced earlier in November 2013 by the under-performing former champion team which has signed Brazilian Felipe Massa from Ferrari to partner Finland's Valtteri Bottas.

DOMINO EFFECT

Maldonado's next move had been keenly watched, with Force India and Sauber waiting to see where he ended up before making their own decisions.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said Grosjean had shown his talents through 2013 while former GP2 winner and 2012 Spanish GP winner Maldonado had proven pace and potential despite scoring only one point in 2013.

Boullier said: "We will provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track. With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus will cause quite a few surprises in 2014."
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