2009 GP2 runner-up Vitaly Petrov is understood to be offering as much as £13m in a bid to secure one of the five remaining berths on the 2010 F1 grid.
According to Bild, Petrov's backers are willing to stump up as much as €15 million (£13.1m) in a bid to secure him a seat, with Renault said to be the favoured option.
Clearly very talented, one has to wonder why Petrov - who is managed by Michael Schumacher's manger Willi Weber - is prepared to spend so much money especially as Bernie Ecclestone is keen to see Russian involvement in the sport. However, Moscow-based bank Sberbank and energy giant Gazprom are more than willing to pay up in order to see their man on the grid in just a few weeks time.
With Mercedes having financed Schumacher's F1 debut with Jordan back in 1991 - ironic when you consider that this year the seven-time champion will race for the German manufacturer - Weber said that pay drivers have always been a feature of F1.
"Only six or seven top drivers earn real money, the rest bring it to their teams," he said. "And whoever starts doing it needs to keep doing it for his entire career, unless he is an exceptional talent."
While Renault team principal Eric Boullier has admitted that his team is considering a pay driver to partner Robert Kubica, Campos Meta and US F1 are also said to be keen on finding a driver wish the necessary funding.