Nov.16 (GMM) According to the paddock grapevine in Austin, Nico Hulkenberg is no longer in the running for the 2014 race seat at Lotus.

Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez has hinted to the newspaper El Nacional that Pastor Maldonado's PDVSA millions are being switched from Williams to Lotus.

"The team is changing (from Williams) and what he is working on is going to Lotus," said the PDVSA president.

Maldonado confirmed: "We are talking to teams but we are quite clear about where we want to go.

"I believe in the coming days we will have a confirmation," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

The news of PDVSA's switch to Lotus, whose 'Quantum' investment appears to have fallen over, will also be a blow for Sauber, who recently welcomed Maldonado to Hinwil.

Also assessing his ever-diminishing options is German Hulkenberg, who is now fending off a new and powerful addition to the 2014 driver market -- the Telmex-backed Mexican Sergio Perez.

Force India might now be Hulkenberg's last hope of a 2014 seat, as his current team Sauber muses the possibility of an all-Mexican lineup, featuring Perez alongside Esteban Gutierrez.

"We have several options," team boss Monisha Kaltenborn is quoted by Sport1, "but a team like ours has to consider how it stands financially.

"We have never chosen drivers by nationality," she added. "We are talking about drivers who are both talented."