Nico Hulkenberg's best hope of simply staying in formula one is a new deal with Sauber, according to reports.
Pastor Maldonado's PDVSA millions, and Max Chilton's lucrative Aon backing, appear to have locked the doors to Lotus and even Force India for the highly rated German.
"We are up against 150 million (euros)," Hulkenberg's manager Werner Heinz told Bild newspaper.
Hulkenberg told Sport Bild: "I have never ruled out staying at Sauber."
Mercedes' Niki Lauda told Bild: "It is ridiculous that someone like Hulkenberg has to fight for a cockpit."
World champion Sebastian Vettel agreed: "Nico has absolutely earned his place in formula one."
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