Lopez takes over as Boullier leaves Lotus

2014 F1 season

Eric Boullier, Gerard Lopez, Lotus, Bahrain, 2013Lotus has confirmed team principal Eric Boullier has left after four years with the team. Co-chairman Gerard Lopez will take over as team principal.

Rumours immediately linked Boullier to a move to McLaren, who are due to unveil their new car at noon today.

“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,” said Lopez.

“Lotus F1 Team has never stood still and we head into what promises to be an exciting 2014 season with an innovative new car, new partners and a new management structure at Enstone,” he added.

Lotus intend to reveal their new car, the E22, at the beginning of the Bahrain test on February 19th. Lopez also used the statement to announce a new sponsor, Yotaphone.

Boullier joins the list of key staff members which have left the team in the last 12 months, including designer James Allison and aerodynamicist Dirk de Beer who moved to Ferrari. Boullier joined the team in 2010, when it was called Renault.

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77 comments on Lopez takes over as Boullier leaves Lotus

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th January 2014, 9:49

    If Ron Dennis really snatched Boullier away from Lotus I would say that is a really good move. Not so good news for Lotus and for their drivers, as Eric has been very supportive in helping Grosjean get on top of his skill, and would have surely been just what Maldonado needs as well.

    • The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 24th January 2014, 9:53

      Hmmm… If it were true then is it good or bad? I can’t decide!

      • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 24th January 2014, 9:54

        Is it confirmed / hinted to anywhere, that Boullier is going to Mclaren ?

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th January 2014, 9:56

          I think John Noble from Autosport mentioned it on twitter (as did others), but so far its speculation @il-ferrarista

          • Bazza Spock (@bazza-spock) said on 24th January 2014, 10:24

            Yeah it’s the headline at autosport.com that Eric will be the Maclaren TP so I’d say it’s more than rumour.

            Pretty damn interesting.

            Sad for Whitmarsh, but he’s really too much of a Nice Guy to be in that position.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th January 2014, 9:55

        I am pretty sure its great news for McLaren (if true) and a big setback for Lotus, especially at this time when everything is tight to get the car out on track.

        • The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 24th January 2014, 9:59

          Lotus, with well known financial issues, had a decent car last year and even looked like contenders early on. How much of that is down to Boullier? I guess, if McLaren appoint him, then we know the answer to that question

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 24th January 2014, 9:55

      Surely it must be something along those lines as I can’t imagine Lotus would get rid of Boullier by thier own choice considering how many others have left already.

      I think he’d do a good job at McLaren.

    • I don’t think it is a good or bad decision if that is the case nevertheless it’s Ron Dennis we’re talking about, so he’ll just be a the face of the team as it happens with RBR, not the puppeteer.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th January 2014, 15:29

      Death by a thousand cuts. Sad.

  2. smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 24th January 2014, 9:52

    I would prefer a Dennis/Brawn combo, it will either be fireworks or…fireworks, either way it would be compelling viewing .,

    • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 24th January 2014, 10:01

      Maybe that’s the dream scenario, a dream team of senior managers. But really, I think it could develop to almost the same situation we had in 2007 between the drivers.

      Yes a Ross Brawn would be an enormous asset for Mclaren, but will Big Ron tolerate him? Two competitive and hardcore roosters with big enough egos in the same team, ..I’m not sure. Boullier on the other hand is a safer bet, at least I would say so.

  3. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th January 2014, 9:52

    Boullier is probably my fav team principal. Looks like he jumped ship before it sank ;-)

  4. Jimbo Hull (@kartingjimbo) said on 24th January 2014, 9:52

    Lotus really have been left dead in the water by all it’s key personnel leaving…. They all obviously know something we don’t. Every week there’s something else having me thank the F1 Gods for pointing Hulkenburg in a different direction.

  5. disjunto (@disjunto) said on 24th January 2014, 9:54

    I feel like I’m the only one that isn’t a fan of Boullier, not entirely sure why I’m not either. Guess I should wipe the slate clean in my mind and form a new opinion.

    • ME4ME (@me4me) said on 24th January 2014, 10:01

      @disjunto, your not alone, I don’t like they guy very much either. To start with, i though he did a great job, cause it isn’t easy to fight with the big teams on a limited budget. Besides he made some bold decisions, like giving Grosjean another change, which in the end paid off. But then the last year or so, Boullier has been talking alot of ** at times. Things he didn’t need to say, things to make others look bad. Like another team not showing up for testing. A typical statement so show his ego, show how much he knows in the paddock ..and then he got that wrong too..

      • I’m not a big fan either to be honest although maybe he is a good team principal. But as for giving Grosjean another chance, i thought that was generous too…until i found out he was Grosjean’s manager! Clear conflict of interest surely.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 24th January 2014, 10:10

      This came up ages ago and quite a few were against Boullier. I think he came into the sport and took a while to stamp his influence. He looked out of his depth with drivers like Grosjean and lots of mistakes with the car (those weird exhausts at the front of the car etc).

      It has to be said though that over time, he built up a good team around him and got Grosjean to a stage where he was competitive against Kimi.

      He had no experience of running an F1 team until he joined Lotus but overall, I think he’s done a good job considering one of his drivers was Grosjean and the other was Kimi who wasn’t getting paid! I wouldn’t fancy managing that situation!!!!!

  6. Kelsier (@kelsier) said on 24th January 2014, 10:05

    McLaren please, please don’t employ this guy. Whitmarsh is bad enough.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 24th January 2014, 10:12

      Out of interest, what has he done that would make him worse than Whitmarsh? I’m just interested why people don’t like him.

    • The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 24th January 2014, 10:29

      He seems to have waved a magic wand over Grosjean. From “first lap nutcase” to one of the most talented drivers on the grid… all in one season.

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 24th January 2014, 11:24

        That’s a little unfair on Grosjean – that’s how some of the commentators and a lot of uninformed fans saw it, but really Grosjean had been demonstrating for years just how good he was, before he got into F1. For some reason things didn’t gel for him at first, and in trying to make things happen for himself he got into a few accidents. He’s managed to work out whatever was causing him to drive like that, and is now back to being able to harness the talent he showed in GP2 and before. For years he’s been trumpeted as a genuine talent for the future so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that he’s now delivering on that potential.

        • The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 24th January 2014, 11:39

          I think you read more into my comments than was meant!

          Firstly, the quote is obviously Mark Webber’s, not mine. Secondly, surely good management played a part in Grosjean’s transformation? The very act of standing by him following his horrendous 2012 hints that Bouillier was intrinsic to what came next.

    • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 24th January 2014, 11:01

      Whitmarsh has always been a nice bloke and a solid manager. Not many reasons to hate him, but yes he’s probably not the most results-oriented out there.

  7. Surely his Lotus contract would have a Non Compete cause for a period of time. To stop him taking all their secrets to McLaren?

  8. sandyf1 said on 24th January 2014, 10:06

    Wonder if @Lotus_F1Team are tempted to bring out the bunnies mating image after Boullier screwed them over..

  9. BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th January 2014, 10:36

    Hm, after McLaren managed to put out a funny tweet this week, I feared that the Lotus twitter guy had moved as well. But then I saw this one today https://twitter.com/Lotus_F1Team/status/426664531566157824 proving they are still on it (cheeky reference towards McLaren for poaching Eric, as well as for having only a virtual launch)

  10. Bruno (@brunes) said on 24th January 2014, 10:43

    Even if he does go to McLaren, he won’t be able to much this year. He will spend the first half the season learning how the team works, who does what. Then in the second half they will preparing for the partnership with Honda to kick in.

    I guess, this is all part of the big plan McLaren have for 2015. Honda, Ron, Eric, Kevin and a few other they have already poached and will poach within the next season.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent the year trying parts, developing concepts, collecting data for Honda and working on Kevin Magnussen.They might be taking 2014 as a “learning” season.
    (Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they will their best to fight for the championship as well)

  11. If Boullier could talk some sense into Maldonado the way he turned Grojean, Lotus would gain a great driver. Perhaps McL, Merc, RB and Ferrari pooled to pay B. a nice holiday in some tropical paradise :-).

  12. mattF1 said on 24th January 2014, 10:50

    This just shows again how much rubbish and pr talk we have during the off season. It was just last month when Mr Boullier said he is not going anywhere link

    It seems that everyone from Lotus is going and the only reason might be the fact that they are not getting paid. It is Mr Lopez´s team so he can now run it, Grosjean looks like a guy who is just fine to drive for free and Maldonado on the other hand has that Venezuelan backing. But I don’t know if they can run a team between them, will be interesting to see if they even will be on the grid this year.

    • maybe there’s a connection to dennis taking over at McLaren – surely that wasn’t something boullier would’ve known about last month, in advance…

  13. BarnstableD (@barnstabled) said on 24th January 2014, 10:52

    Grosjean to McLaren? You heard it here first.

    • Mashiat (@) said on 24th January 2014, 11:34

      Chandok to McLaren? You heard it here first.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th January 2014, 12:22

      That’s a good point. McLaren has hired Magnussen and expect him to be the new Hamilton while openly talking about getting Alonso on board for 2015 so pressure in on Jenson Button. If they fail to get Alonso and Grosjean keeps impressing, he would be a good choice for 2015.

    • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 24th January 2014, 14:11

      Let’s wait to see what Grosjean does this season first. He’s was highly impressive last season of course. Now if the E22 is more of a midfield car which won’t allow either driver to fight for podiums, will Grosjean be able to keep his cool or will there be flashes of his 2012 self?

  14. Diceman (@diceman) said on 24th January 2014, 11:02

    Wasn’t it like a month ago when Eric said he is going nowhere from Lotus?

  15. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 24th January 2014, 11:46

    Boullier was in a very difficult position for most of last season. The team had no money, couldn’t pay Number 1 driver – lost Number 1 driver, prospect of landing major sponsor/partner was disappearing like mist, key personnel were moving onward and upward. Very hard work just to stand still or even to survive.
    Why stay? McLaren or no McLaren.

  16. NickF12013 (@nickf12013) said on 24th January 2014, 11:47

    Completely off topic but… When did Lotus sign a contract for Renault engines?

  17. JoeToml1n (@joetoml1n) said on 24th January 2014, 12:25

    Is Lopez really the right person for the job though? I don’t think so.. Not sure if a promotion for Permane may have been better, Or if there was anyone else who could have filled the gap better..

    • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 24th January 2014, 16:00

      Good point about Lopez. What are his qualifications to be a team principal, besides being Co-chairman of Lotus? Businessman, yes. Racer? Not so much.

      Agree on Permane. He may have talked himself out of the job with his performance last season.

  18. Steph (@stephanief1990) said on 24th January 2014, 12:37

    I don’t get the hate for Whitmarsh. Dennis won one title during the 2000s if memory serves. Whitmarsh has to take over in 09 with a bad car after the whole Australia fiasco, they were the second best car in 2010, they were better than Ferrari in 2011 and 2012. The problem isn’t Whitmarsh- it’s Red Bull and McLaren have done a fairly decent job of poaching staff away from that team.

  19. Maciek (@maciek) said on 24th January 2014, 13:27

    I’d be hard pressed to name an F1 principal who’s done better than Boullier at getting optimal results out of minimal resources (all things beings relative to F1 in using words like ‘minimal’, of course) in recent years. He seems like an extremely bright and very probably shrewd man – qualitites, I imagine, a guy like Ron Dennis appreciates in a team principal. If he’s named to McLaren, that’s a major coup in my eyes.

  20. Maciek (@maciek) said on 24th January 2014, 13:31

    And come to think of it, Boullier to McLaren would pave the way nicely for a Grosjean-Magnussen pairing in 2015.

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