Date: 29th October 2013 at 8:34am
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Felipe Massa appears to be out of the running for the vacant seat at Lotus.

Following the announcement that 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen would be leaving Lotus for Ferrari, the Brazilian had been one of the favourites for the seat alongside Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg.

But developments at Williams appear to have put a spanner in the works.

Lotus appear to favour talented German Nico Hulkenberg, but the deal with him all depends on the team being able to tie up a crucial investment deal with Quantum Motorsports.

Quantum Motorsports are a consortium of business types from the United States of America, Abu Dhabi and Brunei, unfortunately for Lotus however the deal has dragged on for months and many in the paddock believe the deal is likely to collapse.

If that happens the contract drawn up with Hulkenberg will be taken off the table and instead Lotus will turn to Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado as he attempts to engineer a move away from Williams.

Lotus have struggled financially this season and are in desperate need of a serious cash input. With Romain Grosjean appearing to be secure in his seat, that would mean Lotus could well turn to a ‘pay driver’ with Maldonando ticking that box as he is backed by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA to the tune of £30million-a-year.

The BBC believe both drivers have agreed terms with Lotus and are just waiting on Lotus to make their final decision.

With Felipe Massa overlooked at Lotus, it means his options to remain in Formula One are shrinking. He’s only seen as 50-50 to take Maldonado’s seat at Williams if he does indeed get the Lotus drive.

Sauber could be an option for Massa, but that too seems unlikely as they are probably set to stick with Mexican Esteban Gutierrez and either Russian teenager Sergey Sirotkin or Vitaly Petrov.

Force India could have an opening, but that’s likely to be filled with two drivers from Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg.