Nico Hulkenberg looks set to miss out on the Lotus race seat for 2014.
Team boss Eric Boullier has admitted the German is his preferred choice to replace Kimi Raikkonen.
But, because Hulkenberg is basically unsponsored, an actual paid deal between the 26-year-old and the Enstone based team has been pending the sale of a 35 per cent stake in Lotus to a group of investors known as Quantum.
It seems the deal may have fallen over.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Pastor Maldonado, whose lucrative Venezuelan backers PDVSA have been negotiating their exit from Williams, has leapt to the front of the queue to replace Raikkonen.
"Some say the deal is now done," said correspondent...
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