Quantum Motorsports are on the verge of confirming their investment in Lotus F1 Team, securing the long-term future of the team after prolonged financial uncertainty throughout the course of the season and appearing to pave the way for Nico Hulkenberg to join the team.
Due to the financial problems, star driver Kimi Raikkonen is set to leave the team at the end of the season in favour of a return to Ferrari in 2014. The Finn made his feelings perfectly clear to journalists in Abu Dhabi, inferring that he would consider not racing in the final two rounds of the season should his payment problems not be resolved. “Hopefully it will be fixed and we can finish the season as well as we can,” he said. “I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving, but a big part of it is business. Sometimes, when that is not dealt with like it should be, we end up in an unfortunate situation. You have to put the line in somewhere.”
However, the problems do appear to be on the verge of resolution thanks to the involvement of Quantum, headed up by businessman Mansoor Ijaz. He made his plans for Lotus clear in Abu Dhabi, highlighting Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg as the planned replacement for Raikkonen with the Finn receiving his pay to see out the season.
“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 as cleanly or as nicely as you’d like them to,” Ijaz is quoted as saying by the BBC. ”I am confident that he will run the last two races, fulfil his professional obligations to us and us to him.”
So although Hulkenberg is the choice of both Ijaz and team principal Eric Boullier, it remains to be see whether or not the German driver will get the chance to step up and partner Romain Grosjean in 2014. Pastor Maldonado is still thought to be vying for a seat at Lotus next season, and his financial muscle could make him a serious consideration for the team even if his on-track form in 2013 has left much to be desired.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.