Eric Boullier has quit as Lotus' Team Principal - all rumours suggest he is off to McLaren

Eric Boullier has left his position as Team Principal of the Lotus F1 Team with immediate effect, the Enstone team has announced. Team owner and co-chairman Gérard Lopez will take over Boullier’s vacated role.

The announcement came just hours ahead of the McLaren F1 team’s unveiling of its 2014 challenger, prompting immediate speculation that the Boullier had been headhunted to take over as Martin Whitmarsh’s replacement in the Woking team’s ranks.

Whitmarsh was all but dumped from his role as Team Principal after his predecessor, Ron Dennis, staged an internal coup against his successor to wrestle back control of the team.

While McLaren is not expected to confirm Boullier’s appointment at its launch today, the identity of Whitmarsh’s replacement will be known in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Boullier’s departure will leave something of a vacuum with Lotus’ ranks, the force was evidently so strong as to barely reference Boullier when Lopez’s role reassignment was announced.

“In order to continue strengthening its management structure, to further increase Genii’s role in the team and to close the gap between its strategic, commercial and sporting activities, 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,” the statement reads.

“The team will announce the arrival of new commercial partners and sponsors when it unveils its 2014 car, the E22, at the beginning of the first Bahrain pre-season test in February. The team will also confirm its organisational structure for 2014 ahead of this test. The team management, car and partner portfolio will illustrate the team’s will and desire to continue its quest to become one of the strongest teams in Formula 1 in every sense.”

“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 added.

Image via Flickr

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.