With immediate effect, Gérard Lopez has replaced Eric Boullier as Team Principal of Lotus, a statement from the team confirmed today. This comes amid rumours that Boullier is headed to McLaren to replace Martin Whitmarsh.
In the Lotus statement, Lopez confirmed that there are quite wide-ranging changes taking place at the team. This could perhaps partly explain the strange decision to not attend the first test at Jerez next week. Lopez said:
“Lotus F1 Team has never stood still and we head into what promises to be an exciting 2014 season with an innovative new car, new partners and a new management structure at Enstone.
“Great things have been achieved over the past years and we need to continue this momentum. With this in mind, we are proud to announce that we have concluded an agreement with YotaPhone and its shareholders. YotaPhone shareholders will become important partners to Genii and YotaPhone a sponsor to the Lotus F1 team this year.”
Considering the relative success that Lotus has had over the last few seasons, Lopez’s comments about Eric Boullier seem rather muted: “We thank Eric for all his hard work over the past four years and we are confident we can continue to fight as one of the top teams in Formula 1 over the seasons ahead.”
The new Lotus, the E22, will be unveiled ahead of the second pre-season test, which begins in Bahrain on 19 February.