After months of speculation, it appears that the final seats on the Formula 1 grid for next year will be filled in the not too distant future.

It is believed that this will be triggered by Pastor Maldonado, who is looking ever closer to becoming a Lotus driver in 2014.

After a season of financial difficulty for the Enstone-based team, it looks like the Quantum deal has amounted to nothing as the team and drivers linked to the team have grown impatient. This means the Venezuelan driver, who is backed by PDVSA, is looking certain to replace Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen.

The other candidate for the Lotus seat, Nico Hulkenberg, appears to have signed for Force India, who he raced for in 2012. However, it will not be a question as to which driver he will replace, as Force India apparently will enter the 2014 season with a completely different line-up.

Mexican driver, Sergio Perez, looks set to join Hulkenberg, after Martin Whitmarsh called upon teams to offer his outgoing driver a seat.

Nico Hulkenberg’s departure from Sauber after one year with the team leaves a vacant seat.

Esteban Gutierrez looks set to remain at Sauber after finishing the season as the highest place rookie in the championship, with Sergey Sirotkin probably joining the team as reserve driver.

It is believed that Adrian Sutil, who is backed by Medion, will drive alongside the Mexican at Sauber. This is an interesting move as Sutil has not switched teams since his arrival in Formula 1 in 2006.

Options for Brit Paul di Resta appeared to have run out, as he looks set to be ousted from Formula 1 after three solid years for Force India. His target is still to be on the grid for next year; however, he looks set to make a switch to IndyCar or even has the option to return to DTM.

At the bottom end of the grid, it is looking increasingly likely that Marussia will retain Max Chilton alongside Jules Bianchi. The Brit has had an appealing solid first year in Formula 1, as he finished every race.

Heikki Kovalainen is still vying to return to Caterham, however this is growing increasingly unlikely. The team have shown interest in Marcus Ericsson and it is believed that if he is signed for next year, he will partner Giedo van der Garde, who has also had a decent first year in Formula 1.

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Formula 1