Formula 1

Lotus not ruling out driver changes next season

Both Raikkonen & Grosjean could leave. (©GettyImages)
Both Raikkonen & Grosjean could leave. (©GettyImages).

The Lotus team has admitted Romain Grosjean may not remain with the team after 2013 despite his podium finish at the German Grand Prix.

Yesterday it was reported that Grosjean's third place at the Nurburgring may have saved his spot within the Lotus team for now but that doesn't mean he will stay on for 2014.

The Enstone based team have already confirmed they are in talks with Nico Hulkenberg and it is believed he could well be lined up regardless of whether their other driver Kimi Raikkonen leaves for Red Bull or not.

Indeed team owner Gerard Lopez is confident the Finn will stay with the team.

"We know that Red Bull is replacing the second driver next year, but I think Kimi is no second driver," he told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

What could sway the argument is money, while Lotus recently tied up with a wealthy consortium called Infinity Racing, it is believed Raikkonen's salary was paid late in recent months.

"It (Raikkonen's salary) was paid late, yes," Team Principal Eric Boullier told the BBC.

"But it has been paid. We have to if we want to keep him."

The issue of finance could help Grosjean in his fight to keep his seat as he is known to have backers from French petrochemical company Total, while Hulkenberg remains one of a few drivers on the grid without a major backer.

Other driver's have also been linked such as Williams' Pastor Maldonado, who is well known for his Venezuelan backing and Force India's Paul di Resta.

"Yes, I know the rumours," Lopez said. "Lotus is a fascinating team, Kimi has not decided what to do, and maybe we will have a place open with Grosjean's agreement running out.

"Romain has driven well but no one can know at this point whether we will have one place open, or two, or none at all," he insisted.

But team boss Boullier did not rule out a completely new line-up for 2014.

"A lot of drivers are talking to us," he told F1's official website, "so should the 'white sheet' situation occur I have a plan B but I will not share that now."


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