Lotus would prefer Hulkenberg over Maldonado for 2014

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg

Lotus is keeping a seat open for Nico Hulkenberg, in the hope that the German can wait a little longer for the Quantum Motorsports investment deal to be completed.

In Austin at the weekend, Pastor Maldonado’s feisty mood with Williams tied in with paddock reports that the Venezuelan has now agreed to move to Lotus for 2014.

The Enstone based team has been open about its talks with Maldonado, but also clear is that his candidature – involving about €40 million a year in PDVSA sponsorship – would be a fallback option in the event that the Quantum deal collapses.

Many in the paddock believe that the money will indeed never arrive at Lotus.

“[Mansoor Ijaz] told me the same as he told everybody else,” said Hulkenberg.

The German has always been Lotus’ first choice to replace the Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen, but as he is not substantially sponsored, he will only secure the seat if the Quantum millions do arrive.

Hulkenberg admitted to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that, like many in the paddock, he is now “sceptical”.

That is why there are still reports doing the rounds that Hulkenberg’s manager Werner Heinz is working hard on a couple of fallback options; Force India and Sauber.

Lotus boss Eric Boullier, however, admits he would rather sign Hulkenberg than Maldonado.

“I think he would like to come to us,” said the Frenchman. “And we would also like him [to come to us].

“Grosjean and Hulkenberg would be one of the best driver lineups in Formula 1, and also very attractive for the financial side.”

But Boullier said he would understand if Hulkenberg gives up the long wait.

“Yes,” he acknowledged. “He has had a bad experience at Williams and doesn’t want to be in the same situation again.

“So you couldn’t blame him if he signs somewhere else. It would just mean the timing was not right for him or for us,” said Boullier. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • LotusFan

    Mansoor Ijaz pls turn up with the money. Grosjean V 2.0 + Hulkenberg will be fantastic

  • McLarenfan

    Nico Hulkenberg or crashdonado well I think I see why Lotus have a big preference. Crashdonado’s money can’t cover the repair bills on his car and if he qualifies near Grosjean he will take him out as well twice the repair bill I think all the sponsors will pull out.
    Psycho Crashdonado always doe’s Great this and that but his talent is Carbon Crunching and Marshal Maiming.

  • Boycottthebull

    Later reports seem to say that the Hulk has signed with Force India. Really sad news. Lotus’ fan base will take a dive with Maldemoneybags buying his way into the team. I have never been overly impressed with Di Resta performances but even he would be better than Pastor. As least he is respectful and the fans seem to like him. That has to be better for Lotus’ reputation that what they will get with Maldonado. Whats the bet that with him bringing in the money he wont accept that Grosjean is number one and cause all sorts of internal problems as a result.