Maldonado "working hard" on return to F1 in 2017

Pastor Maldonado says he is still only thinking about a return to Formula 1 in 2017, despite having plenty of options to race in other categories.

Maldonado "working hard" on return to F1 in 2017
Pastor Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado
Graeme Lowdon and Pastor Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado

The 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner was dropped by Renault over the winter following sponsorship issues with long-time backer PDVSA.

Although he says there are 'options' elsewhere in racing, he says his focus is on finding a way back to grand prix racing for the start of next year.

"I am looking around, working very hard and hopefully we can sort something in F1," he told Motorsport.com over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

"I'm open – open to good things. Not just doing anything. It will be good if we can do something in F1, but if not I am fully prepared.

"I have been active, testing a lot and doing so many laps, always with new tyres, training a lot. And ready to jump in a car and do my best."

When asked about whether a switch to IndyCar or sportscars would be most likely if F1 did not come off, he said: "We may need to work on a plan B, but it is hard to say what it is. There are so many options.

"We need to have those options on the table and then try to decide – but it is open. But hopefully F1 is at the moment Plan A."

Better driver

Maldonado has been conducting testing work for Pirelli this year as the Italian tyre company begins its preparation for the new, wider 2017 rubber.

And although the work only came about following the disappointment of losing his F1 drive, he says in the end what has happened has helped him improve as a driver, because he understands tyres so much more now.

"It was a bit disappointing of course because I have been racing for 25 years already, and it was a bit choking, at the time, but this is life," he explained.

"But let's look forward and move forward. Pirelli called me to do the tyre development – and we have been doing an excellent job testing a lot, new solutions. It's very interesting.

"They haven't any time to do a real test with drivers who have been racing with good teams, so it was interesting for me to understand a bit more the tyres and to understand how they work. It is very important as a driver to do these kinds of things."

He added: "I think in the middle of the bad moment I think it was quite good to take a rest, especially this year looking to the results of the [Renault] team – and just looking from the outside to decide where to go and especially if we can come back next year."

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