Pastor Maldonado is facing an uphill battle to retain his seat at the newly-launched Renault Formula 1 team for the coming season, which kicks off in March.
The volatile Venezuelan owes his place in the sport to an ongoing agreement whereby he pays to drive, but an issue over outstanding fees from his sponsor national oil company PDVSA could put his future at Renault in jeopardy.
A spokesperson for the F1 team stated: "It's speculation at the moment. We have a contract with Pastor. That is the current situation.
"Who knows what could happen by Australia but, at the moment, we are going forward with Pastor and Jolyon [Palmer]."
Stoking the rumours, free agent Kevin Magnussen – one of the hottest talents in motor racing – was given a tour of Renault's manufacturing facilities earlier this week.
Magnussen has spent the last five years with McLaren, operating as both a reserve and first-string driver, partnering with former world champion Jenson Button in 2014/15 .
He left the team at the end of last season after being replaced in the driver line-up by another former world champion, Fernando Alonso.
The Australian Grand Prix will be the season-opener of the 2016 Formula 1 calendar and will take place at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on the weekend of March 18th to 20th.
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