Has Maldonado secured Lotus drive at expense of Hulkenberg?

Pastor Maldonado heading out the door from Williams to Lotus?

Pastor Maldonado heading out the door from Williams to Lotus?

Nico Hulkenberg looks set to miss out on the Lotus race seat for 2014, despite team boss Eric Boullier admitting the German is his preferred choice to replace Kimi Raikkonen.

But, because Hulkenberg is basically unsponsored, an actual paid deal between the 26-year-old and the Enstone based team has been pending the sale of a 35 per cent stake in Lotus to a group of investors known as Quantum. It now seems that the deal may have fallen over.

Auto Motor und Sport said that Pastor Maldonado, whose lucrative Venezuelan backers PDVSA have been negotiating their exit from Williams, has leapt to the front of the queue to replace Raikkonen.

“Some say the deal is now done,” said correspondent Michael Schmidt.

Pastor Maldonado may replace Kimi raikkonen at Lotus

Pastor Maldonado may replace Kimi raikkonen at Lotus

Schmidt said that Williams, who would be compensated by PDVSA for prematurely ending the contract, is likely to replace Maldonado with Ferrari refugee Felipe Massa, who is said to be backed by the Brazilian oil company Petrobras.

It is believed that Hulkenberg is unlikely to stay at Sauber next year, which could mean a return to Force India for the German, whose Formula 1 career was rescued by the Silverstone based team after he lost his Williams seat in 2010.

Eddie Jordan, with a solid reputation for usually getting his  predictions right, said earlier this month that he is “certain” that Hulkenberg will race with Force India in 2014.

However, team supremo Vijay Mallya threw a spanner in Jordan’s theory this week when he named Hulkenberg as the “only driver” who has ever “expressed the desire to leave” Force India after just a single season.

“Other than that all the other drivers have always been very happy to stay,” he told Formula 1′s official website.

Mallya said Force India will not name its 2014 driver lineup until December. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • screwed over again

    is maldowildo going to screw the hulk out of a seat again. what the hell.

  • gingerbreadman

    that is really bad.
    the hulk is far better, its just sad to see him not in a wining car.
    i hope by 2015 he has a descent seat, maybe even at honda, that would be great.

    as for pastor. he is a miss when it comes to racing. apart from his backing he does not really belong in F1.
    that is my 10c.

  • caoguowei

    if lotus signs maldonado, then i hope they lose to sauber/force india for 5th next year

  • Psych4191

    On Mallya’s statement: Hulkenburg is the only driver FI has had that comprehensively outgrew the team. Di Resta, Sutil, Liuzzi, and Fisichella were not better than a midfield car. Hulkenburg is a soon-to-be star. The others are also-rans and has-beens. Don’t get me wrong, Fisi was good in his prime. But he was long past that when he got to FI. Di Resta isn’t good, Sutil is only getting older.

  • adam22

    go to honda, and start a career there!

  • Waleran

    I thought I heard Eddie Jordan retract the basis for his Force India prediction for Hulkenburg, last weekend in India.

  • McLarenfan

    Pastor Maldonado is not good enough to even drive a Marussia on merit!!!!! He is reckless and at times psychotic.

  • haha

    @Psych, I understand where you’re coming from concerning Fisico, but sure you forgot Spa 2009 where he was on pole and gave me my best Spa experience of the 7 times I went. His race to the line with Kimi was Bonkers to witness live, I can assure you that! But admitted it hurt me to see he couldn’t really cope with the twitchy Ferrari (it was better than Badoer but still not enough). For me it also proved the Ferrari is verry difficult car to handle and that Felipe isn’t that bad as everyone thinks. Maybe they should have given Fisico a year more in a well adapted car to his style of driving. He did win races in F1 (even with Jordan) and he won Le Mans GT Pro Category for Scuderia Ferrari too. Yes I was a Fisico fan and I’m a Tifosi, maybe my view on thing is biased or coloured but you can’t deny he did belong in F1. He could have won more if he hadn’t been the teammate of that whining, cheating, selfproclaimed number 1 driver. JUST LOOK AT THIS: h(xx)p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Alonso#Controversies. None other driver has a category dedicated to cheating. If you think of all these points mentioned not 1 is true, you’re blind. He ordered Singapore, I’m 100% sure of it (hence why Massa made him pay for all of this in the last races, he has 2008 and Germany 2010 in the back of his mind, no doubt about it). What Mateschitz said is 100% true too. Alonso will never drive for Red Bull because he’s a bridgeburner and a farce to the sport. Coming from a 27 year long Tifosi.

  • Fletcher

    There is a reason Hulk is not in a top team. Because he hasn’t proven himself yet. Sure he has some good races but that’s it. He has never even been in a podium and he is inconsistent. Always starts out slow and only after September does he turn it on. It has been like that every year.

  • The Pessimist

    I’m not a Maldonado supporter but I always felt he had raw pace he just needs to control his emotions,anger management to be precise, read the situation and race intelligently rather than trying to race flat out and end up destroying the tires. If he gets his act together he surely will be ranked as one of the best drivers on the circuit.

  • Koos

    @ Fletcher – Hulkenberg has proved his talent by winning the Formula BMW ADAC championship, A1 Grand Prix Championship, European F3 Championship as well as the GP2 championship – that is far better than a lot of F1 drivers that never ever won any championship

  • Boycottthebull

    I so hope the title of this article isnt true. The 30 million sponsorship wont even cover his repair bills. Come on Lotus sign the Hulk and be done with it.

  • Psych4191

    @haha I didn’t forget 2009 Spa. But there’s an old saying here. Even a broke ass clock is right twice a day. He was past his prime. That doesn’t mean he could no longer do it. Look at Schumacher. He grabbed pole in Monaco last year. That doesn’t mean he was back to his Ferrari form, it just meant he still had the raw talent under the delays of age. Fisi did nothing at Ferrari but show everyone how good Massa really was (and Kimi for that matter). Badoer was nothing but hilarious.

  • McLarenfan

    @haha:
    I agree so many little snippets come out about Alonso I feel he should have taken PAIN over the Mclaren spy-gate and the crash-gate yet he walks away with the smell of Bull sh!t not sticking to his Teflon coated race suit!

  • haha

    @Psych, you’re right about the form. But I told you that I was biased because I was huge fan of him :D, and I have to admit I wanted him at Ferrari when he was in his prime. As a Tifosi it’s always nice to have an Italian in the car.

  • haha

    @the Pessimist,he is bloody fast otherwise he woudn’t have won a race against Alonso in his home race last year. I also think his speed comes from his temperament so it’s difficult for him to have the one without the other. Admitted, the Bottas overtake was a bit too much (but I guess Ayrton would have done the same :p, a gap is a gap). Everybody screams that Kvyatt is coming because of money, but yet 99% of the screamers haven’t done the effort to follow GP3. I actually follow everything for years now (all lower classes, Le Mans, rally, american series, all motorcycle cat. even Isle of Man and TT’s). I have to say Kvyatt’s performance at Spa Francorchamps and Monza was well above the rest of the field and quite a joy to watch. Let the screamers scream and we’ll enjoy the racing :D

  • Angela

    Come on Ron and Martin, drop Perez and get Hulkenberg at McLaren!!

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Fletcher loves donkey doodle.

    Hopeless….

  • Mark

    D O N ‘ T D O I T !!!

  • Garth

    Take a look at the bottom of the barrel Crashtor Malfunction scored 1 point more than the slowest driver ever Chilton and he scored none. At least slow as he may be he finished all the races Malfunction never. So Chiltons C.V actully makes better reading than his, digest that fact Crashtor, oh I forgot a bad workman always blames his tools. We must all remember that he replaced Bruno Senna who was showing real ability.