The question of who will be where in 2014 is largely becoming clear as the final pieces of the midfield jigsaw are put in place.
After six months of waiting it appears Lotus’ deal with Quantum is indeed not going to take place and the announcement of Pastor Maldonado – with his $40m in Venezuelan backing – as replacement for Kimi Raikkonen is set to made very soon.
“I think we are now coming to a final agreement,” Maldonado is quoted by Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo, without naming his likely 2014 team.
If the Quantum deal had been secured, the man who would be going to Enstone was Nico Hulkenberg. The German has impressed greatly in 2013 and now with Lotus out the picture he has apparently signed for Force India with an announcement due before the end of the week.
“His (Hulkenberg’s) heart is at Sauber, but we don’t know what their financial situation will look like next year,” said his manager Werner Heinz.
“In all probability we will sign at Force India. It’s too dangerous when you don’t know if Sauber is going to have the sponsors it needs,” he said.
Set to partner him at the Silverstone based team in 2014 is now ex-McLaren driver Sergio Perez, Checo has reunited with Telmex and his reported €15m in backing is set to see him replace Paul di Resta.
“Obviously it (Force India) is one of the options,” the Mexican told reporters. “I hope in the next few days we are going to have some news.”
Should the pairing be confirmed it will certainly be one of the marque midfield pairings with both drivers looking like star’s of the future and could be a great base for Force India to move up the grid in 2014.
Finally at Sauber where Adrian Sutil is likely to complete a straight swap with his countryman Nico Hulkenberg, the deal that was set to see 17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin join the team also appears to have fallen through opening up a second seat at the Swiss team.
Sauber are still desperately seeking much need sponsorship and finances and a final option on the table is a full scale buyout of the Hinwil team.
“Plan C is a sale, and reputable investors from the USA are said to be interested,” said a report in Germany’s Auto Sport und Motor.
Current second driver Esteban Gutierrez looks unlikely to remain at the team with a possible move to Marussia being touted while the fate of who will likely join Sutil depends squarely on the team’s finances.
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