Formula 1

Eric Boullier Joins McLaren After Leaving Lotus, Gerard Lopez Takes over

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - MARCH 22:  Lotus Chairman Gerard Lopez is seen in the paddock during practice for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on March 22, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2014

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:

 

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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:

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.

Lopez (right)
Lopez (right)Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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.

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