Date:Tuesday November 19 2013
The Formula One driver market has never been so fluid, with Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez all linked with various moves to Lotus, Sauber and Force India.
The much talked about deal between Quantum Motorsport and Lotus holds the key to the rest of the driver market.
Quantum Motorsports who are a consortium of business types from the United States of America, Abu Dhabi and Brunei are in the midst of finalising a deal which has been agreed with Lotus owners Genii Capital.
They hope to Quantum complete a deal to purchase 35% of the Lotus team within the next few days.
The deal should ease Lotus ongoing financial fears, with an immediate cash input for the team and impending major sponsorship agreements.
It should also mean that Lotus can capitalise on the availability of Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg.
The German driver, is one of the highest rated drivers on the grid and after narrowly missing out on a drive at Ferrari for next season he has been in talks with Lotus for a number of months.
But his signing is completely dependent on head of Quantum Mansoor Ijaz completing the deal with Lotus and having all the money transferred over to the team.
But can Hulkenberg wait any longer for Lotus if the deal is not completed this week?
The German also has offers on the table from current team Sauber and former team Force India, will they hold out indefinitely while Hulkenberg waits for a deal at Lotus which might or might not happen?
'He would like to join us and we would like to have him on board, I believe pairing him with Grosjean, it would be one of the best pairings in the pitlane, and a very affordable one - if I may say this! Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier told Autosport Magazine.
'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.'
Plan B for Lotus has always been signing Pastor Maldonado, not necessarily for his driving ability, but for the €30 million-a-season in sponsorship from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA that he also brings.
But PDVSA will also not wait forever to secure a drive for Maldonado and any further delays with Lotus could mean that the team also loses out on Plan B.
Meanwhile Sauber and Force India will continue to wait for the scraps left behind.
After being dropped by McLaren, Sergio Perez, backed by Mexican communications company Telemex, looks an ideal fit back at former team Sauber, but with Force India also refusing to confirm their driver line-up for next season they too could be in the market to replace either Adrian Sutil or Paul Di Resta.
Date:Tuesday November 19 2013
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