Lotus has “good idea” of Grosjean replacement for 2016

© Getty Images

Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi claims to have a “pretty good idea” of who will replace Romain Grosjean for the 2016 Formula 1 season as talks with drivers continue.

Grosjean was unveiled as the first of Haas F1 Team’s drivers for its debut campaign earlier this month, leaving one seat open alongside Pastor Maldonado at Lotus.

The team is currently in the final stages of agreeing a takeover by French manufacturer Renault for 2016, but still needs to find a second driver to replace Grosjean.

Ferrari development driver Jean-Eric Vergne, current Lotus reserve Jolyon Palmer and recently-released Kevin Magnussen of McLaren have all been linked with the seat.

Speaking ahead of next weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Gastaldi remained coy when discussing the progress being made to find a driver for 2016, but said that Lotus had a good idea of who it would be.

“The remorseless passing of time means that you always get closer to something in the future, so yes, we are closer to making an announcement,” Gastaldi said.

“I would say something will come sooner rather than later. We won’t be disclosing who it is before we announce it, but we certainly have been speaking to drivers with good provenance.

“We have a pretty good idea who we will have in the car.”

Lotus holds just one of four seats still to be firmed up for 2016: a role alongside Grosjean at Haas remains open, while Manor is yet to confirm either of its drivers.