Boullier: Hülkenberg is our choice
14 October 2013 – Lotus team boss Eric Boullier has revealed that Nico Hülkenberg is his first choice to partner Romain Grosjean for the 2014 season, but admits the Enstone-based outfit's finances need to be settled before it can commit to signing both drivers.
Having struggled to keep up with salary payments throughout the year, the team lost Kimi Räikkönen's future services to Ferrari. But Boullier has been working hard to rectify the situation, with a number of sponsorship deals edging closer to completion.
A group of investors known as Quantum Motorsports, formerly Infinity Racing, seized a 35 percent stake of Lotus back in June, while the squad has been pushing to secure Renault – which currently supplies its engine units – as a fully-fledged sponsor.
"With the deals, we are edging in the right direction, but until things are signed and confirmed, we will see," Boullier, whose team sits fourth in the standings, is quoted as saying by Sporting Life. "Everything should fall in place soon, and when they do we will start to tick the boxes, and the engine is on the list of what we have to confirm."
On the possibility of signing Hülkenberg, who made the switch from Force India to Sauber for the current season, Boullier added: "I would love to. He is our choice."
Boullier also had encouraging words for Grosjean, with written confirmation from the Lotus board all that stands between the Frenchman and a third season at the team.
"He did a great job," Boullier said of Grosjean following his Japanese Grand Prix podium finish. "He is at the level we expected, what we have wanted him to do.
"I need to get written confirmation from my board. Romain has a contract with us. He has an option to be taken up, and we have to do that in a few days, so we will see."
Boullier's comments appear to throw Felipe Massa's Formula 1 future up in the air, with the outgoing Ferrari driver claiming he only wants a competitive seat for 2014.