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Maldonado says team switch was key to get back to winning ways

Pastor Maldonado believes a change of teams for next year is essential if he is to get back to winning ways in Formula 1

The Venezuelan is close to a deal with Lotus for 2014, but if his talks are not successful there remains a chance he could yet accept an offer he has from Sauber.

When asked by AUTOSPORT if he believed a new environment would be good for him after a frustrating season at Williams, Maldonado said: "I think it was the best decision for me, and for the team, because I did not feel quite well there.

"It can happen even in the best family. The team I knew in 2011 changed a lot, and I was not full of confidence with the people around the team at the moment.

"The race team is fantastic, amazing, and I will miss them because together we have been fighting even in very tough conditions.

"All my guys have been working very hard for me and I have been working very hard for them, I will miss them."

Maldonado set to unlock driver market

Although this season has not produced anywhere near the kind of results he enjoyed in 2012 - which included a famous win at the Spanish Grand Prix - Maldonado thinks he has learned a lot this year.

"I will do my best with my new team," he said. "I hope to have the full support from them as well as I had last year and we were very competitive.

"We did many mistakes, from the driving point of view, and the team point of view as well with pit stops and many problems with the reliability of the car as well. But this is a learning process.

"This year was more clean for me, but there was no performance in the car. So I am really looking forward."

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