Sauber have said they won’t block Nico Hulkenberg from moving to another team at the end of the year if he chooses to.
Hulkenberg joined the team at the start of the season but has endured a disappointing campaign so far, scoring just seven points.
Sauber, who are experiencing financial trouble, have not taken up an option on his contract for 2014.
“Nico is very important for the team, because he is the more experienced driver and we expect that guidance from him,” team principal Monisha Kaltenborn told Autosport. “He has been doing a fantastic job so far. But we never stand in anybody’s way.”
Rumors have suggested the Sauber team could be bought by Russian investors. However Kaltenborn insisted the team will see out the year: “We have entered for this season and we have at no stage doubted that we will not be there this season.”
It’s not the first time Hulkenberg has faced the prospect of losing his seat with a team due to its financial situation. Before the end of his first season with Williams Hulkenberg was told they would not be retaining him for 2011 as they were hiring Pastor Maldonado, who brought substantial backing from the Venezuelan government. Hulkenberg subsequently gave the team its first pole position in seven years in Brazil.
After a year on the sidelines he raced for Force India last year and enjoyed a strong end to the season. But following his move to Sauber he now faces the prospect of racing for a fourth different team in as many campaigns.