Eric Boullier is set to become McLaren’s new Formula 1 team principal after quitting the Lotus team.
McLaren made no mention of its team principal plans during its launch event for the team’s new car on Friday, but the absence of Whitmarsh from any media material has made it clear that he is unlikely to remain a part of the F1 team.
Following intense speculation about plans for McLaren following Ron Dennis’s review of the organization, Boullier has resigned from his position as Lotus F1 team principal with immediate effect.
The Frenchman, who has done an impressive job at Lotus despite financial constraints, is now favorite to land the role at McLaren.
Lotus has confirmed that its owner Gerard Lopez will be its new team principal for 2014, and will share responsibility for running the outfit with co-chairman Andrew Ruhan.
Although the loss of Boullier will be a blow to Lotus, the team remains hopeful that it has a strong commercial and managerial platform going forward.
Lopez said: “Lotus F1 Team has never stood still and we head into what promises to be an exciting 2014 season with an innovative new car, new partners and a new management structure. Great things have been achieved over the past years and we need to continue this momentum.
“We thank Eric for all his hard work over the past four years and we are confident we can continue to fight as one of the top teams in Formula 1 over the seasons ahead.”
Lotus is missing next week’s first pre-season F1 test, but plans to unveil its new E22 car at the start of the second test in Bahrain.