Nico Hulkenberg's F1 career could stall unless he stays at Sauber, according to new reports.

The German has been the most impressive driver in the last few races though his momentum was stalled with a DNF in India.

Despite that the 26-year-old is now scrambling just to remain in F1 and some reports claim his current team Sauber could be his final hope.

With Pastor Maldonado and his millions in backing set to move to Lotus and Max Chilton with his backing set for Force India, Hulkenberg's favoured options appear to have gone.

"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."

Meanwhile other F1 figures have backed Hulkenberg claiming it is stupid a driver of his talent is struggling simply to stay in the sport.

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."

As for Hulkenberg's chances at Sauber they too appear to be bleak with young Russian Sergey Sirotkin set to join and Esteban Gutierrez confident of being retained.

"I feel very confident that I will stay in F1 next year," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace in Abu Dhabi.

As for Sirotkin, precisely what role he has at Sauber is yet to be confirmed as a simple reserve role could be on the cards.

"I think we will find out fairly soon whether he is ready for Formula One," team boss Monisha Kaltenborn is quoted by f1news.ru.

"It is an important step and it should not be underestimated."

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Formula 1