Nico Hulkenberg is at the front of queue for 2014 so long as Lotus 'can afford him', team boss Eric Boullier admitted on Thursday.
Frenchman Boullier said Felipe Massa also has not been ruled out as departing Kimi Raikkonen's successor, but Lotus is waiting on pending deals with investors as well as Renault.
Raikkonen caused a stir recently when he revealed he decided to switch to Ferrari next year only because he has been left waiting for his pay.
The main holdup, it seems, is the conclusion of a deal between Lotus and a group of investors known as Infinity.
'I think we are nearly there,' Boullier said at Suzuka. 'Once we have done this we can afford to pick the driver we want.
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