Lotus keen to seal Hulkenberg deal
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is wary he could lose the chance to sign Nico Hulkenberg next year if his team does not move quickly, but has underlined his desire to bring the German driver to Lotus.
Hulkenberg is key to the driver market, with his destiny resting on whether Lotus can secure funding from investors Quantum Motorsport before he signs elsewhere. Hulkenberg has offers from other teams for 2014, including his current outfit Sauber, and Boullier is aware he could lose his top pick.
"He would like to join us and we would like to have him on board," Boullier said. "I believe pairing him with Grosjean, it would be one of the best pairings in the pit lane, and a very affordable one - if I may say this!
"I understand his position as well because he had a very bad experience when he was dropped by Williams, and he doesn't want to be in the same situation. So I cannot blame him to sign or to commit to someone else if we are late with the timing."
However, Quantum Motorsport has promised its funding will come through this week, with investor Mansoor Ijaz saying the money has been delayed by compliance checks.
"We're still very much going to join them [Lotus]," Ijaz told Sky Sports. "We have done what we need to to make sure that the assets from our portfolio were released.
"We live in a world where the banking compliance frameworks and the way in which international transfers work are quite complicated. We're not talking about moving small sum of money and every time you have Middle East investors involved in a transaction where the monies are coming directly from the Middle East, the complications can be quite significant and the compliance process can take some time.
"We will not quit this week until we finish it and we will finish it this week."
Hulkenberg said his priority is to secure a drive in Formula One, but is keen to choose a team that can challenge for podiums next year.
"I want to be in Formula One first, and then I want to get a car like I have now that can get well in the points and wouldn't mind to be on the podium. Certainly Sauber is one of the options.
"It's not entirely my decision, I'm also depending on a few answers from different teams. I wouldn't like to say anything in terms of a time frame because I don't know whether I can keep to that or be within it."