Sources close to Lotus
report that the Enstone based team is ready to announce the Williams
-departed Pastor Maldonado
as Romain Grosjean
's teammate for 2014. Earlier, the talented Nico Hulkenberg was Lotus' top choice to replace the Ferrari
-bound Kimi Raikkonen.
But that was dependent on the team's new investment millions from the 'Quantum' group arriving in time, but the conclusion of the deal has been repeatedly delayed. So, amid reports Lotus has struggled financially in 2013 despite finishing the championship a competitive fourth, the team has signed up Maldonado and his apparently EUR 35-40 million in annual PDVSA backing.
We reported earlier on Friday that Maldonado's arrival at Lotus has only been possible due to a deal between PDVSA, the Venezuelan-owned oil giant, and Total, linked both to engine supplier Renault
and Frenchman Grosjean. Total is a French oil multinational, but a deal to allow the branding of the two seemingly conflicting sponsors on the 2014 Lotus car was reached earlier this week in Caracus, the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat reported. (GMM)