The Lotus F1 team has completed their deal with Quantum Motorsports. This deal has been one of the most covered stories of the season, as the deal will secure the financial future of the team for the next five years.
Now that the deal is done, it is expected that Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber will be signed as Kimi Raikkonen‘s replacement at the team for 2014. Team principal Eric Boullier has had his eye on the German for some time, and said that his signing hinged on the completion of the deal with Quantum, which gives a minority stake of the team to the company.
This also means that the services of Raikkonen are guaranteed for the final two races. The Finn threatened to not race in Austin or Brazil after having to be convinced to race today in Abu Dhabi just days before he was scheduled to show up. It is reported that Lotus owe Raikkonen upwards of €15 million for the season, with those payments having had to be delayed due to the Quantum deal having taken longer than expected.
Lotus were prepared to sign Pastor Maldonado should the deal have fallen through at the last minute. The Venezualean is reported to have in excess of €30 million in PDVSA oil sponsorship, making him the ideal signing for a team in financial trouble. With the deal now completed, look on this site for news of Hulkenberg’s potential signing in the coming days.
Romain Grosjean and Hulkenberg could prove to be one of the dark horse pairings in 2014 as both have been on incredible runs in the latter half of the season.