Lotus have reportedly joined the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes on the list of teams which Lewis Hamilton could join next season.
The 27-year-old's contract with McLaren runs out at the end of the current campaign and it remains to be seen if he will stay with the team where his Formula One career started as they have struggled to supply him with a Championship-winning car in recent years.
Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull (that was before Mark Webber signed a new deal) have often been mentioned as possible destinations should he decide to quit Woking, but the Daily Mail has now thrown Lotus into the equation as well.
'Sportsmail understands that the 2008 world champion would consider a move to Lotus now that they have returned to form which propelled Fernando Alonso to two world titles in their former guise as Renault,' the paper claims.
'Lotus currently employ 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and moving out big earner Raikkonen halfway through a two-year deal would represent an issue - as would coming close to matching Hamilton's £15million-a-year contract which expires at the end of the season.
'But there is no guarantee that McLaren are prepared to match those terms after group executive chairman Ron Dennis stated Hamilton's deal was agreed when the economic climate was very different.'
Meanwhile, team principal Martin Whitmarsh insists that McLaren's current woes won't influence Hamilton's decision.
"I think he's smarter than that," Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
He added: "He's got to want to stay in this team, which I believe he does."
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