Nico Hulkenberg has told Lotus he wants his Formula 1 future sorted out by the end of this month.
His recent impressive form has made him hot property on the driver market - and several teams including Lotus and Force India are eager to lure him away from Sauber for next season.
Although it is understood that Lotus is his preferred option, the deal hinges on whether or not the Enstone-based team can pull off an investment deal with potential new partner Infinity Racing.
Hulkenberg says he is happy to wait for now, but after his experience in 2010 - when he was dropped by Williams at the end of the season - he does not want to risk being left out in the cold if Lotus cannot get its finances in shape.
"I want to have some certainty about my future - and not in November," he said, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the timeframe for him to make a decision on 2014.
"It needs to be at the end of the month, for sure. There is obviously a certain cut off point.
"I have experienced falling over the back in 2010, and I am not going to risk doing that again."
Although a move to Lotus would mean that Hulkenberg has driven for four teams in five years, he insists there are no concerns his changes point to a lack of loyalty.
"It is not a worry," he said. "It is maybe not ideal but there is a positive side as well because you can take all the good things forward.
"Obviously in terms of consistency and settling in somewhere it is not the best, but movements happen for a reason and it is what it is, so there is no point questioning it for me."