'Boullier departure a surprise'

Monday 17-February-2014 09:41

Eric Boullier's departure from Lotus was unexpected even by those in the team such as Romain Grosjean.

Last month, when the hot topic was who would replace Martin Whitmarsh at McLaren, Lotus surprised many when they announced that Boullier had left the team with immediate effect.

The Frenchman had led Lotus since January 2010 and was largely credited with getting the team to fourth in the Championship despite having to operate on a limited budget.

Less than a week after that announcement McLaren confirmed that Boullier had joined the Woking team as the new Racing Director.

"The departure of Eric was a big news for everyone, we did not necessarily expect that," Grosjean said in an interview with Infosport +.

The Frenchman, though, doesn't fault Boullier for swapping allegiances as it is "a big opportunity for him."

Gerard Lopez was named the new team boss at Lotus although, in what could prove to be a straight swap, Whitmarsh has been linked to the job.

But whoever takes the job, Grosjean concedes they have big shoes to fill.

"Now we need to find someone to replace him at Enstone, because he led the team very well," he added.

"We have gone through quite a difficult period, but now things are going much better and it's great."

The Frenchman also weighed in on Lotus' decision to let his new team-mate Pastor Maldonado debut the E22 during a recent day of filming at Jerez.

"It was smart to let him have the car first because he does not know the team," he said.

Grosjean, though, will the "the first to drive the whole package in Bahrain."

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