After months of speculation, Lotus have finally confirmed their drivers for the 2014 season. Romain Grosjean will remain for his third season and will be partnered by former Williams driver Pastor Maldonado.
Having lost Kimi Raikkonen to Ferrari, Lotus have been considering their options with Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg emerging as front runners for the drive. Lotus have found themselves in limbo over the potential addition of investors Quantum, with the deal remaining on the verge of being signed for a number of months. Quantum boss Mansoor Ijaz has made no secret of the fact that their preferred option would be Hulkenberg, however, with no money changing hands, Lotus have decided to go with PDVSA backed Maldonado.
“It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team next season,” Team Principal Eric Boullier said. “He has really made the most of his tremendous over the latter part of the 2013 season and will be a fantastic asset to our 2014 challenge. Romain will be joined by Pastor Maldonado – a driver I have known since he drove for me at DAMS in the 2005 World Series by Renault season.”
“It is clear that Pastor has pace and potential,” he continued. “This was demonstrated by his 2010 GP2 series title success and then through strong races throughout his career at Williams F1 Team – and we are convinced that we will be able to provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track.”
Romain Grosjean revealed that he is happy to finally have official confirmation that he will continue with Lotus. “This past year has been tremendously satisfying for me,” he said. “We have worked well together, and I know everyone at Enstone is motivated to continue the fight for every last point available.”
“It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014,” Pastor Maldonado revealed. “It is no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push my Formula 1 career and Lotus offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season. I can’t wait to be racing in black and gold.”
“We have been working on our new car in alignment with the new regulations for over two years,” Boullier concluded. “We are confident that we have a very good solution to all the challenges ahead. With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year.”