Jarno Trulli has cast doubt on his F1 future by hinting that he could be prepared to leave the sport if he can't find a competitive drive.
Trulli joined Lotus last season following the departure of Toyota from the sport and endured a difficult campaign as the team made its debut on the grid.
Lotus were widely expected to challenge in the midfield this season and fight for championship points but Trulli has yet to make it out of Q1 and has only twice finished inside the top 15.
The results – or lack of – this season have now led to questions about Trulli's future beyond his current deal, which ends at the end of 2011, and the Italian admitted he wasn't sure if he would still be in Lotus colours again in 2012.
"I want to see how things evolve," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport
'paper. "I'm used to fighting for the podium, for victory. It's tough this way. I could have a look around and leave F1, without quitting racing.
"I'm not interested in Indy, while endurance racing like the 24 Hours of Le Mans maybe yes, with a strong team. But I'm not thinking about it now, I want to keep my mind clear. Then we'll see."
Trulli's main problem this season has been a lack of feedback from the power steering fitted to his car, which has prevented him from getting the best from the T128 in either qualifying or on race day.
"These are not good times for me,” he said. “After a 2010 of settling in, I was expecting to be fighting in the middle of the pack, instead we are always at the back. Lotus is still building up experience."