September 20, 2015 / 7:59 PM / 3 years ago

Maldonado staying with Lotus in 2016

Formula One - F1 - Singapore Grand Prix 2015 - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - 17/9/15 Lotus' Pastor Maldonado speaks to the media ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Hoch Zwei Livepic

(Reuters) - Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado will continue to drive for Lotus next season, the financially-troubled Formula One team said on Sunday.

“Pastor will continue as a race driver for his third year with the Enstone team after joining at the start of 2014,” they said in a statement after the Singapore Grand Prix.

British-based Lotus’s future has been uncertain for months, with the team facing numerous legal battles and hoping that a takeover deal with former owners Renault can be sealed within the next week.

The team is due back in the London High Court on Sept. 28, the day after the Japanese Grand Prix, for an adjourned hearing brought by Britain’s tax authorities that could force Lotus into administration.

Team principal Gerard Lopez said in the statement that the fact the team could confirm Maldonado, who brings in tens of millions of dollars in funding from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, was a positive sign.

“Everyone at Enstone will testify that Pastor is a terrific person to work with and we all know the performances he is capable of on track,” he added.

“Pastor joined us with a multi-year deal so this confirmation is a reiteration of our belief in him. We hope to be able to make further positive announcements regarding the team in the near future.”

The court heard on Friday that a significant payment from PDVSA was due to Lotus at the start of November.

Maldonado, who has acquired an accident-prone reputation, finished 12th in Sunday’s race after a collision with McLaren’s Jenson Button.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris

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