Heikki Kovalainen has refused to rule out switching to another team if Caterham does not take a big step forward in 2012.
With his reputation damaged after disappointing subsequent tenures at Renault and McLaren, the Finn moved to the start-up Team Lotus in 2010 where in the past two seasons he has rebuilt his confidence and form.
He was even mentioned earlier in the 2012 'silly season' but remains under contract to Caterham for next season.
According to Turun Sanomat newspaper, Kovalainen was asked if he now feels a sense of 'obligation' to stay at Caterham for the long term.
"Not in any way," he answered. "I want to see what we can do together and let's see what is the situation in the summer."
The 30-year-old would not say therefore whether he will definitely be at the team in 2013.
"It depends on the car's performance," said Kovalainen. "I can not give an exact percentage but if we continue to develop next season then it (the chance) is high.
I am myself and cannot be someone else
"Otherwise it is small," he admitted.
Kovalainen was also asked about his new nickname 'Niceman' that is doing the rounds -- a mischievous play on countryman Kimi Raikkonen's Iceman moniker and an intimation that he might be 'too nice' to truly succeed.
"I don't take it too seriously," he smiled. "I am myself and cannot be someone else."