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Lotus open to employing heavier driver in 2014

ESPN Staff
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Nico Hulkenberg is a heavier driver believed to be in the running for a Lotus drive in 2014 © Sutton Images

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says the weight of drivers will not be a factor when he comes to decide who will race for the team in 2014.

Nico Hulkenberg has been linked to the Lotus drive, but in the new V6 turbo era his extra height and weight will be a disadvantage. The 2014 engine regulations will see heavier power units in the car and several drivers have said the corresponding increase in minimum driver and car weight is not enough to fully compensate for the added bulk.

As a result heavier drivers could be at a significant disadvantage when trying to meet the prescribed weight as they will not have as much - or any - ballast to place elsewhere in the car. Drivers like Felipe Massa, who has also been linked to the Lotus seat, are in the region of 10 to 15 kilos lighter than heavier rivals like Hulkenberg, but Boullier says weight is not an issue.

"We're more interested in the talent and potential of a driver rather than the difference of a few kilos," he said. "We have confidence in our development team to be able to produce a car for the 2014 regulations which should be competitive in the hands of any driver we consider for next year."

Speaking in Korea, Hulkenberg said the regulations should be looked at to give heavier drivers an equal footing.

"I think there was a similar situation in 2009 when KERS was first introduced and drivers had to lose a lot of weight," he said. "Unfortunately I am what I am; I'm tall so therefore on the heavier side, but not heavier than some other drivers. There's no point discussing it because I can't change it, it's not in my control, but maybe in terms of regulations you'd have to look to raise the weight a bit more to make it more fair for different weight levels for different drivers. You can really get an advantage there with your weight distribution etc if you're 10-15 kilos lighter.

"[Space] is tight; I shouldn't be two centimetres longer! It is manageable now but there's not a lot of breathing space. At the beginning of the year we had some issues here in this car but that was also shoe related and now it's absolutely fine."