Date: 4th November 2013 at 11:16am
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Nico Hulkenberg finally looks set to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus.

Williams driver Pastor Maldonado had threatened to take the seat at Lotus, such is the power that the Venezuelan holds thanks to his reported £30million-a-year sponsorship from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

The current Williams driver appeared to have his pick of teams for 2014 while Lotus looked to be struggling to secure a crucial investment deal with Quantum Motorsports.

Those in the paddock were all of the thought that Lotus had agreed driver deals with both Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado, with Lotus going for the talented German if the investment deal with Quantum Motorsports was concluded, whilst plan B was to take the money from signing Maldonado.

Thankfully for Hulkenberg and Formula One in general, as seeing a seat at one of the top teams in the sport put up for auction can hardly be viewed as a positive, Quantum Motorsports, a consortium of business types from the United States of America, Abu Dhabi and Brunei are now close to agreeing a deal to purchase 35% of Lotus Genii Capital.

‘There is no question the deal is definitely happening. It has now been completed from our side,’ Head of the Quantum Motorsports consortium Mansoor Ijaz told the BBC.

‘Our deal is to buy 35% in newly-issued shares. We are essentially diluting Genii Capital. The options do allow us in a fixed amount of time to take control of the team later on.

‘We’re going to clear off the debt, and then we’re going to bring very high quality sponsors which you’ll see very soon. Those sponsors will give us the longevity and capacity to compete at the top end of the business for a long time.’

Quantum Motorsports also intend to the money owed to outgoing driver Kimi Raikkonen and other members of the team.

Raikkonen went public over the money owed to him by the team, with clear details of the debt made public during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

Kimi is yet to be paid in 2013, with £6.7million owed from his basic salary and £42,000 per point in bonuses also owed. That brings the grand total to £14.5million this year alone.