Eric Boullier leaves Lotus to be replaced by Gerard Lopez as Team Principal
Sky sources understand Boullier in line for McLaren team boss role
By Sky Sports Online
Last Updated: 24/01/14 8:10pm
Lotus co-chairman, Gerard Lopez, will replace Boullier in the role of Team Principal.
However, it is the bombshell departure of Boullier which could massive ramifications along the pitlane with the Frenchman already tipped to replace Whitmarsh following the return to power of Ron Dennis at McLaren.
Sky Sports News understands that Boullier decided to leave Lotus of his own accord and will take over from Whitmarsh at McLaren.
However, despite Boullier's exit clashing with the launch of McLaren's 2014 charger, the Woking outfit refused to confirm either Whitmarsh's departure or Boullier's arrival at the event.
Whilst impressing on the track throughout 2013 as they claimed fourth place in the Constructors' Championship, Lotus suffered a series of well-documented financial difficulties off it, with Kimi Raikkonen revealing he had not been paid prior to his high-profile departure to Ferrari.
Alarm bells were also rung loudly when the team announced last month that they will miss the upcoming Jerez Test.
However, the team have softened the blow of Boullier's departure with the assurance that their new charger, the E22, will be unveiled 'at the beginning of the first Bahrain pre-season test in February' and that 'the team will also confirm its organisational structure for 2014 ahead of this test'.
'The team management, car and partner portfolio will illustrate the team's will and desire to continue its quest to become one of the strongest teams in Formula 1 in every sense,' a statement read.
"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," added a defiant Lopez.
However, all eyes are now on McLaren as Dennis, back in charge after a management coup saw him reinstalled as the team's Chief Executive, prepares to appoint a new management structure at Woking following the team's dismal 2013 season.
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, starting in Jerez on Tuesday January 28, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.