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Lotus takeover far from completion

Lotus admit they “don’t even have a list of possible names” who will replace Romain Grosjean next year as they are still concentrating on the Renault takeover, which is set to drag on until December.

The Enstone squad have already confirmed Pastor Maldonado for the 2016 season, but they have one vacant seat following Grosjean’s decision to join the new American-based Haas F1 Team.

Lotus, though, are yet to seriously look at the Frenchman’s replacement due to the on-going takeover saga with Renault.

The French manufacturer confirmed at the end of September that they “signed a Letter of Intent to take a controlling stake” in the Enstone squad with the view of running it as the Renault works outfit from 2016.

However, Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has admitted that the process is far being completed.

“Renault are on the way into the team and that means they must be included in discussions,” he told Danish paper BT.dk. “The entire takeover is a long process, which will probably only be completed in December. I doubt there will be any decisions before then, unless the Renault management suddenly decides otherwise.”

The likes of current Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer, former McLaren racer Kevin Magnussen and ex-Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne have all been linked, but Gastaldi says they are no closer to starting discussions about drivers for the second seat.

“We were shocked when we heard Romain was leaving us, he was the ideal man for the job,” he said. “He has experience, has worked with us for a number of years and he is French. Therefore we were surprised when he decided to go to Haas. 

“We are not prepared to start a search for a new driver, and I can honestly say that at present we do not even have a list of potential names.”

He added: “My personal opinion is that nationality is not going to play any role when choosing. But again: This is something the new owners might re-evaluate.”

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