Lotus F1 team principal Eric Boullier took to Twitter
over the weekend to insist that he has not left his post with the Enstone team.
The Frenchman spent the second half of the 2013 season fielding questions about Lotus' financial health, sparked by Kimi Raikkonen's claims that he had not been paid and culminating, after the Finn had opted for season-ending back surgery that excused him from the final two rounds, by repeatedly confirming the existence of a deal with Quantum Motorsports, which has yet to produce any addition to the bank balance.
Reports in Germany claimed that the team had fallen behind on general salaries in November, and that outstanding payments to both Proton and Renault threatened its very existence.
With Raikkonen headed for Ferrari in 2014, Boullier also had to oversee the recruitment of a replacement. Without confirmed funds from Quantum, he had to settle for Pastor Maldonado – who brings valuable PDVSA sponsorship – over preferred choice Nico Hulkenberg, who instead returned to Force India after a solid season at Sauber.
The Silverstone-based team is also at the heart of the Boullier rumours, with suggestions that the Frenchman has quit Lotus to link up with Vijay Mallya's operation.
The latest speculation also stems from Germany, with several sources claiming that Boullier had decided to cut and run.
“Just heard that Eric Boullier might have resigned from his job,” Sport Bild
's Bianca Garloff wrote on her Twitter
feed over the weekend, “He does not want to be responsible for the chaos there anymore.”
Asking both Boullier and Lotus to confirm or deny the rumour, she claimed that her source had come from within Renault source, before another couple of established F1 correspondents added to the speculation by naming Force India as a possible destination for the Frenchman.
While F1 Racing
's Anthony Rowlinson confirmed the rumour, claiming that he had spoken to the same source that had confirmed Sergio Perez's move to the same team some time before the Mexican was officially announced as the team's second signing, the mysterious Monsieur F1 claimed to have spoken to Boullier, who he says had held talks with Mallya but opted not to put pen to paper fearing a similar financial situation to the one he was dealing with at Lotus.
“Unhappy by the Genii Capital decision to deal with PDVSA & @Pastormaldo, Eric Boullier will leave @Lotus_F1Team,” the source tweeted, before conferring his apparent conversation with the French team boss.
“I've speak [sic
] with @eboullier, he received an offer from @clubforce India, but no agreement is or was made. He don't want to live the same situation he has lived with @Lotus_F1Team. He want to be sure that @clubforce India have a good financial situation.”
That revelation appeared to prompt Boullier into action, with a denial of any talks or suggestion that he is to desert his current post.
“Dear followers, I have never received any offers and I have not resigned from LF1,” he tweeted, “Thanks for your support.”