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SBD Global/January 27, 2014/Franchises

Gerard Lopez Replaces Eric Boullier As Lotus Formula One Team Principal

Gerard Lopez (R) replaced Eric Boullier (L) as Lotus F1 Team Principal.

Gerard Lopez replaced Frenchman Eric Boullier as principal of "the unsettled Lotus Formula One team," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. The news "triggered speculation that Boullier could be heading to McLaren." McLaren, who had a miserable '13 season without a single podium finish, has yet to say who will lead their team "after Martin Whitmarsh lost his position of overall group chief executive to his returning predecessor Ron Dennis." Lotus said in a statement, "Gerard Lopez, will combine his position on the board with the role of Team Principal with immediate effect." Lotus was successful on track last season "but struggled financially off it, with talk of significant investment from the Middle East that never materialized." Lotus is also yet to confirm the renewal of its engine partnership with Renault, although that is taken as a given, and are the only team to have said it "will not attend next week's opening pre-season test in Jerez, Spain." Lotus explained the change at the top as a strengthening of its management structure and to "further increase Genii's role in the team and to close the gap between its strategic, commercial and sporting activities" (REUTERS, 1/24).

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