Lotus is set to announce its management structure – including a new team principal – by the first Bahrain test following talks with former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
The team is searching for a replacement for Eric Boullier, who left a week ago to join McLaren as racing director, essentially replacing Whitmarsh in the newly-created role. Whitmarsh's exit from McLaren has yet to be officially announced, but it is understood he was no longer in charge as soon as Ron Dennis retook the position of CEO of the McLaren Group in January.
Since then, Crash.net
understands that Whitmarsh has held talks with Lotus, but that no agreement has been reached so far. It is also understood that he is not the only prospective replacement for Boullier who has been spoken to.
One potential concern for Whitmarsh could be the recent downsizing at Lotus, with reports that 30 staff have been made redundant as owners Genii Capital attempt to cut costs.
Lotus was absent from the first pre-season test at Jerez, with issues relating to the Renault power unit restricting the Renault-engined teams present – Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham – to just 151 laps in total.