Boullier: Hulkenberg is my first choice

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Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has named Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg as his first choice replacement for the Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen, with the Frenchman dismissing any rumors suggesting that the driver’s weight could deter the team from signing him.

Lotus look set to retain Romain Grosjean but a number of drivers have been linked to the second seat that Raikkonen has opened up. However, Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official Formula One website that he had made his feelings clear to the team’s management.

When asked who the next best driver to Raikkonen was outside of Lotus, Boullier said: “Nico Hulkenberg.

“I would love to [sign him]. This is the recommendation that I gave to my board.”

With the new regulations in 2014 appearing to penalize heavier drivers, many pundits had suggested that Hulkenberg – at 74kg – would be too heavy for some of the front running teams despite his evident pace. However, Boullier rejected this notion.

“It would matter if you have a problem over weight with the car,” he explained. “I believe we will not have that problem.”

However, the final decision appears to lie with the Lotus board who could place greater importance on the financial incentives that are part of the deal. According to NBC Sports’ Will Buxton, Pastor Maldonado is the other driver in contention for the seat with the Enstone-based team for 2014.

Plans revealed for upgraded Circuit Gilles Villeneuve pit complex

Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau
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Plans for the upgraded pit and paddock complex at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, have been unveiled ahead of their completion in time for the 2019 Formula 1 race.

The Canadian Grand Prix signed a new long-term F1 contract running to 2029 earlier this year, with a commitment to improving the outdated pit facilities at the circuit, built in 1988.

In a press conference earlier this week, further details and artist renderings were revealed for the CA$48 million project by the Société Parc Jean‑Drapeau.

A new glass structure will become the main pit complex, covering three levels to accommodate the teams, media and hospitality guests.

The construction work will commence at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in July 2018 – one month after next year’s Canadian Grand Prix – and be completed two months prior to the 2019 race.

Photo: Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau
Photo: Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau