Update from Wednesday, Jan. 29
Eric Boullier has officially joined McLaren as racing director after his recent departure from Lotus.
McLaren's official Twitter feed provided the news:
Eric Boullier appointed Racing Director. Official McLaren Mercedes press release: pic.twitter.com/nvEGa0vbgT— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 29, 2014
Gerard Lopez has elected to take a more first-hand approach at Lotus after stepping up to become Team Principal of the company with which he owns a controlling stake.
The decision comes after Boullier chose to step down from the position, as confirmed by Sky Sports' Formula One account:
Eric Boullier has left Lotus, who announce that owner Gerard Lopez will take over as Team Principal. Story to follow #skyf1— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) January 24, 2014
Lotus released a statement through its official Formula One website, commenting on the recent news that Lopez would be extending his responsibilities within the team:
Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that its co-Chairman, Gérard Lopez, will combine his position on the board with the role of Team Principal with immediate effect. As a result, the other chairmanship responsibilities will be shared with co-Chairman Andy Ruhan.
We thank Eric for all his hard work over the past four years and we are confident we can continue to fight as one of the top teams in Formula 1 over the seasons ahead.
Lopez has no previous experience leading a team in a capacity such as this, but it will be of huge interest to see one more regularly associated with the board having a more practical grip in the pit lane.
Last season, Lotus finished fourth in the constructors' standings, 39 points away from third-place Ferrari but just shy of 200 points ahead of fifth-spot McLaren.
With Boullier set to begin work with British counterparts McLaren, the 2014 season should show precisely how telling the Frenchman's presence is.
With only seven weeks left until the 2014 campaign gets underway at Melbourne, Lopez doesn't have a great deal of time in coming to grips with his new position.
Lotus adds in its statement that the unveiling of their 2014 car, the E22, will take place at the Bahrain pre-season test in February, where it will hope to win a maiden championship.
Lopez will now be the man at the head of that pursuit, in a decision that brings the owner closer to his product than ever before.