Lotus are poised to recruit Nico Hulkenberg to replace Ferrari-bound Finn Kimi Raikikonen next season, according to the head of the team's new investors.
"As the incoming owners and shareholders, we have made it clear what our preference is," said Mansoor Ijaz, head of Quantum Motorsports, a consortium that has reportedly agreed to buy a 35 per cent stake in Lotus from Genii Capital.
"I wish the transition had been smoother between Kimi and the next driver - who we believe will be Nico - but sometimes in life things don't' happen so clearly, or as nicely, as you want."
Ijaz added that a contract for Hulkenberg had been drawn up and prepared and said that the German driver was excited about the move. Hulkenberg is currently with Sauber.
Ijaz told Autosport.com that the deal was poised to go through.
"I can tell you the contract was prepared and ready to go," he said. "I know Nico is excited about doing this and I think it is a matter of a very short period before that is all finalised.
"Nico is a man well within himself. He is an up-and-coming driver.
"He has a fairly long career span ahead of him. In every sport the athlete has a fixed life span and if he has five or seven years left in him, that is enough for him to rise the very top of the pack with a good car, good technology and a strong team behind him."
Hulkenberg finished 14th in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after being lapped by triumphant compatriot and newly-crowned quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
Raikkonen, in dispute with Lotus over unpaid wages of more than 15 million Euros, arrived late and departed early. He started from the pit lane and retired at the opening corner following a collision.