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GP2 champion Maldonado close to F1 switch
Pastor Maldonado
(GMM)  By succeeding Nico Hulkenberg as the new GP2 champion, Pastor Maldonado is now close to switching to formula one for 2011.

The 25-year-old Venezuelan, managed by Felipe Massa's manager Nicolas Todt, has - with his main sponsor PDVSA - already been linked with a move to Sauber for next year.

He also has close ties to the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and Brazilian journalist Livio Oricchio says Maldonado is now very close to F1.

"I don't want to get to formula one and be there for just one season," he is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"It is an historic moment.  Not for many years have we (Venezuela) had a representative in formula one, but there is a boom of interest now," he added.

"The project of our government to support sport is a success.  They have invested six years in me to get to formula one and I am ready for the challenge," said Maldonado.

He senses a deal is close, amid reports his manager Todt is looking to buy into Sauber.

"It would be great if it was done before the race in Abu Dhabi, so I could participate in the tests there after the GP with my new team," admitted Maldonado at Monza.

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