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Lotus close to announcing new team boss

NEWS STORY
10/02/2014

Lotus remains on track to confirm its new team principal in time for next week's second pre-season test in Bahrain. The Enstone squad has been without a full-time team boss since Eric Boullier stepped down in January, the team is understood to have had discussions with a number of prominent figures to replace the Frenchman.

One of those linked to the role was Martin Whitmarsh, the former McLaren boss who found himself in limbo after Ron Dennis returned as the squad’s CEO last month. Discussions between the Enstone team and Whitmarsh have taken place though there are those within the paddock who doubt the seriousness of the conversations given Lotus' current predicament and that it could be considered a step backwards for the Englishman. For the moment Whitmarsh is understood to remain an employee of McLaren as he ponders his future.

More recently Frenchman OIivier Quesnel, the man who has been at the helm of the Citroen rally effort for the last few years, has been mooted as a successor to Boullier. Quesnel cut his teeth in motorsport alongside Jean Todt at Peugeot Talbot Sport in the 1980s while at Lotus he would take on a role with greater emphasis on the sporting side of the business, presumably leaving the business side to team owners Genii Capital.

Currently the team’s chairman, Gerard Lopez, is acting as interim team principal until a replacement is found with an announcement on the expected ahead of next week's test according to the team. "There’s no change to the intent to announce the structure for the year ahead of the Bahrain tests," a spokesman confirmed.

Whoever is announced has a difficult job ahead given concerns that have surrounded the team’s financial position for some time, with some suggesting as many as thirty staff have been made redundant in recent times as owners Genii Capital look to trim the wage bill in order to reduce costs.

Lotus was the only team absent from the opening pre-season test in Jerez last month, though perhaps doesn't find itself as far behind the eight-ball as it might have done given the problems which plagued the other Renault powered teams. Despite that the E22 made its track debut last week when it was shaken down during two 'filming' days at Silverstone.

Mat Coch

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