Lotus team principal Eric Boullier admits money may yet play a role in deciding Romain Grosjean's new team-mate.
Lotus are in the hunt for a driver to replace Kimi Raikkonen for next year's Championship with Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado reportedly leading the running.
But while Boullier has stated several times that he would "love" to sign Hulkenberg, the Frenchman concedes finances may play a role.
While Hulkenberg does not have any big sponsors backing his career, Maldonado brings with him Venezuelan oil company PDVSA.
"I need to decide if I can afford a driver," Boullier told the BBC.
"The idea is to bring stability to the team.
"Yes, we are working for a financial package, but I would like to have the best drivers as well.
"But you also have to think about your team. You need to save your people."
Boullier would 'love' to sign Hulkenberg