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Force India waiting on Lotus driver announcement

Laurence Edmondson November 27, 2013 « Ferrari 'looking forward to dominating' - Allison | Raikkonen 'much loved' by Ferrari - Montezemolo »
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Force India is waiting on Lotus to make a call on its 2014 driver line-up before finalising its own signings for next year.

Lotus is expected to make an announcement soon, but is still trying to complete its investment deal with Quantum Motorsport to secure its finances for 2014. Nico Hulkenberg is in the running for both Lotus and Force India drives, but may be pipped to the Lotus seat by Pastor Maldonado, who comes with more funding.

Force India has not ruled out the possibility of keeping current drivers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil, but is also in talks with Sergio Perez, who has become available in recent weeks after being booted out of McLaren. However, deputy team principal Bob Fernley said his team would not make a decision until it knows who Lotus has picked.

"The stumbling block at the moment is who's going with Lotus and until that's resolved it's very difficult to know what's available," Fernley told ESPN. "At the end of the season, we've got two very good drivers and there's got to be a compelling reason to change one or both. We don't really know which drivers are available yet."

Asked if a contract or pre-contract is already in place with Hulkenberg, Fernley would only say: "There have been stories like that for a few weeks now and Nico is one of the drivers we'd like to look at."

However, he stressed that Force India would make its decision on driver talent rather than money.

"As long as we're not diluting the performance, because the shareholders are very clear about what they are looking for and that is performance. It's always going to be on talent, if we can get money it's a bonus."

Fernley said the two Force India seats should be among the most appealing on the grid after the team took sixth in the constructors' championship despite turning its attention to 2014 early in the season.

"I think we deserve to be a main target and I'm very optimistic for 2014 considering the work we've done this year. The fact that we've not only managed to get the development working for next year, but hold onto sixth place is a great achievement for everybody here."

Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1

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Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1 Laurence Edmondson grew up on a Sunday afternoon diet of Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell and first stepped in the paddock as a Bridgestone competition finalist in 2005. He worked for ITV-F1 after graduating from university and has been ESPNF1's deputy editor since 2010