Juan Pablo Montoya's future in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was thrown into doubt on Tuesday after media reports on Tuesday stated that he had been told his contract with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing would not be renewed when it expires at the end of the current season.

The first reports came from the Associated Press which stated that the former F1 driver and Indianapolis 500 winner had been informed that the team was no longer pursuing an extension to his contract with the team, which dates back to 2006 after the Colombian left the world of Grand Prix racing following a sudden mid-season split with the McLaren team.

EGR has a policy of not commenting on driver contract matters, but the reports state that team personnel were informed of the impending change on Tuesday, and the AP quoted two team members speaking on condition of anonymity who confirmed that Montoya was out at the end of the year.

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The news was subsequently publicly confirmed by EGR minority owner Felix Sabates. "We did not renew the contract for next year," Sabates told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "It was a difficult decision. He understands. You have to move on in life sometimes."

There's no word on who the team might be eyeing up to replace the 37-year-old in the #42 car in 2014, although EGR has been developing Kyle Larson in the Nationwide Series and has the 21-year-old sensation under long-term contract.

"There's a lot of options out there," said Sabates. "There's just not one person, and we're going to keep all our options open. That's the truth. We don't know ourselves what we're going to do. You've got several drivers out there, good drivers, that [may] be available that would fit our organisation. Kyle Larson is one of the prospects, but he's one of several."

Other names possibly in contention to take over from Montoya include former Cup champion Kurt Busch - currently bidding for a Chase place while competing with one-car outfit Furniture Row Racing - and Ryan Newman, who won the Brickyard 400 last month at Indianapolis but who will lose his own race seat at Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the year after being ousted by Kevin Harvick moving to the squad from Richard Childress Racing.

It's similarly unclear whether Montoya has been or will be in talks with other Cup teams, or whether he will opt to look outside of US stock car racing for his next motor sport challenge. Possible alternatives include sports car, open wheel or European series; Montoya won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona for the third time with Ganassi in January.

Montoya first came to prominence in F3000, winning the title in 1998 ahead of Nick Heidfeld while also working as a test driver for the Williams F1 team. He then opted to compete in the US CART championship in 1999 and 2000 which resulted in his first partnership with Chip Ganassi. He won the title in his rookie season and the following year clinched victory in his first Indy 500 outing, after which he switched to F1 full time with Williams in 2001.

A seven-time Grand Prix race winner, Montoya's best finish in the F1 world championship was third place in both 2002 and 2003. In 2005 he switched to McLaren, only to exit midway through his second season with the team in order to return to the US where he was reunited with Ganassi in full-time Sprint Cup championship competition from 2007, along with a partial season in Nationwide.

However for all his undoubted star qualities in motor racing, Montoya has struggled to shine in NASCAR. In seven seasons and 239 Cup starts he's won only two races - both of them road course events, at Sonoma in 2007 and Watkins Glen in 2010 - while also picking up 22 top five finishes and nine pole positions. He did make the Chase in 2009, the first non-US driver to do so in the series' history, but he's been unable to repeat that success since and finished 21st and 22nd in the standings respectively in the last two seasons.

Currently, he's once again in 22nd place in the points after 22 races out of the 36 in 2013 despite the team having undergone a major restructuring exercise in team personnel in the last 18 months. However, he did lead late in this year's races at Richmond and Dover, and was looking set for strong finishes at Bristol, Fontana and Talladega before suffering mechanical issues.

Overall this probably says at least as much if not more about Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing's struggles to perform over the years. However, it's clear that the team have decided that they now need to shake things up and that maintaining the status quo in the driver line-up is simply not generating the improvement in form required by sponsors.

"It's frustrating for everybody," Sabates admitted. "When you know you've got good equipment and you just can't seem to put everything together still, it's just, you can't ever point a finger at one person, two persons, three persons, because we win as a team and lose as a team.

"We've had a lot of things happen to us this year and last year that wasn't anybody's fault, but it happens, and sometimes you have to make a change and hopefully you have that bad luck go away."

As recently as last month's visit to Indianapolis, Montoya was insistent that there was cause for optimism. "Last year, it was so hard going to every race hoping for better, and there was no better," he told the media. "This year, it's exciting everywhere we go. When we suck now, we still run 15th."

The team's other driver Jamie McMurray is expected to continue in the #1 car next season, although his contract with EGR also expires at the end of the current season. McMurray has six Cup wins to his name, but he's never made the Chase.