Jarno Trulli has a contract with Caterham (formerly Lotus) for the 2012 season, but it is far from clear whether he will be in one of their race cars.
The prospect of Red Bull protégé Daniel Ricciardo replacing the veteran Italian has vanished now he has a seat at Toro Rosso, but now there are rumours about Renault refugees Bruno Senna or Vitaly Petrov stepping in.
Trulli finds himself in this situation after an unconvincing 2011, in which he struggled to get the best out of the Lotus car.
A famously and unusually sensitive driver, he blamed its power-steering system, which he said robbed him of the feel he needed to perform at his best.
The team did come up with a revised system for the final third of the season, and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen said he could not feel the difference - but there was a marked upturn in form from Trulli at the races where they were able to use it on the car.
At his best, Trulli remains one of the fastest drivers in F1. But whether team boss Tony Fernandes - who needs consistent results to justify his continued investment in the team - has the patience to tolerate the inevitable under-par days remains to be seen.