Nico Hulkenberg's hopes of moving to Lotus next season have received a boost with the Enstone team's new investors throwing their support behind the German.
According to Autosport, Lotus principal Eric Boullier is being pressured by investment consortium Quantum Motorsports to sign Hulkenberg as a replacement for Kimi Raikkonen.
Quantum, then trading under the name Infinity, announced in June that it is buying a 35 percent stake in the team from current owners Genii Capital.
Despite the finalisation of the deal having dragged on for some months, Quantum chief Mansoor Ijaz has revealed this week that it has “now been completed from our side in terms of what has to be done”.
Having also stepped in to resolve the team's pay dispute with Kimi Raikkonen, Ijaz is now pushing for the signature of Hulkenberg.
“We as incoming owners and shareholders have made it very clear what our preference is,” he told Autosport.
“I wish the transition had been smoother between Kimi and the next driver, who we believe will be Nico Hulkenberg, but sometimes in life things don't happen so clearly and as nicely as you would like them to.”
Ijaz has been frustrated at the length of time it has taken for Lotus to sign Raikkonen's replacement, saying that a contract has been pre-existing for Hulkenberg.
Williams driver Pastor Maldonado has also been mentioned as another possible candidate for the Lotus drive, with the former GP2 Champion said to be able to bring some $AUD 60 million per annum from Venezuela's national oil and gas firm, PVDSA.
Russian 18-year-old Sergey Sirotkin is being groomed for a drive to replace Hulkenberg at Sauber as part of an arrangement with the financially challenged outfit's new Russian backers.
Sirotkin drove a 2012 C31 Sauber F1 car in a publicity stunt at the Black Sea city of Sochi in September.