Date: 1st November 2013 at 9:28am
Written by:

Amazingly it seems almost half of the seats on the Formula One grid depend on Pastor Maldonado.

Such is the power that the Venezuelan holds thanks to his reported £30million-a-year sponsorship from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, the current Williams driver appears to have his pick of teams for 2014.

The 28-year-old could decide to leave Williams and has subsequently held talks with both Lotus and Sauber over a drive next season.

‘Time is going away and I really want to have a clear answer, I am working with my people and we will choose the best decision and the best team for me. he told Sky Sports.

‘I have no deadline or special day, but I hope to have it before the end of the season. Brazil, maybe, or maybe before.’

Following the decision by Kimi Raikkonen to leave Lotus for Ferrari, the Enstone team seat is one of the most sought-after seats in the paddock.

Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg had previously been the favourites for the seat, but Maldonado’s and his money appear to hold the key.

While Lotus continue to try and tie up a crucial investment deal with Quantum Motorsports [Quantum Motorsports are a consortium of business types from the United States of America, Abu Dhabi and Brunei], it was thought that Lotus would hold off on making a decision on who they were most likely to partner with Romain Grosjean, but Sky Sports have reported that they have already signed a pre-contract agreement with Maldonado, which leaves him with all the options, either staying put at Williams, moving to Sauber or moving to Lotus.

‘It’s not easy as a driver to choose a team, especially when everything will be new for next year. he concluded.

If he was to choose Lotus, the most likely event appears to be that Felipe Massa would join Williams, while Nico Hulkenberg would be left choosing between Sauber and Force India.

But with Sauber most likely to stick with with Mexican Esteban Gutierrez and either Russian teenager Sergey Sirotkin or Vitaly Petrov for financial reasons, that would leave Force India the most viable option, casting Paul Di Resta into F1 exile.

Of course if Maldonado opts for Sauber, that could leave Mexican Esteban Gutierrez out in the cold as Maldonado’s Venezuelan money may well out trump that of the Mexican money which backs Gutierrez.

That would open up the Lotus seat for Hulkenberg and leave Di Resta at Force India.

Maldonado could stay at Williams, leaving Hulkenberg to move to Lotus and potentially leave Massa without a drive and retiring from Formula One altogether.

All of the scenarios are apparently possible and that’s ignoring the fact that McLaren are still yet to officially confirm Jenson Button and Sergio Perez as their driver line-up for 2014.