Lotus boss Eric Boullier has been told by the team’s new investors to sign off a 2014 deal with Nico Hulkenberg.
After months of uncertainty about the status of a partnership with Quantum Motorsports, the man behind the consortium that is buying a 35 percent stake in the team from Genii Capital revealed at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that the deal was now done. As a priority, he is urging Boullier to finalize a contract that will bring in Hulkenberg as replacement for the outgoing Kimi Raikkonen.
“We as incoming owners and shareholders have made it very clear what our preference is,” said Quantum chief Mansoor Ijaz when asked about next year’s driver situation. “I wish the transition had been smoother between Kimi and the next driver, who we believe will be Nico Hulkenberg, but sometimes in life things don’t happen so clearly and as nicely as you would like them to.”
When asked about the time frame for sorting out a Hulkenberg contract, Ijaz added: “That part is not for me to comment on. I can tell you the contract was prepared and ready to go. I know Nico is excited about doing this and I think it is a matter of a very short period before that is all finalized.”
He added that Hulkenberg is a prospect with an exciting future.
“Nico is a man well within himself,” he said. “He is an up-and-coming driver; he has fairly long [career] life span ahead of him.
“In every sport the athlete has a fixed life span and if he has five or seven years left in him, that is enough for him to rise the very top of the pack with a good car, good technology and a strong team behind him.”