Di Resta and Hulkenberg fight for Force India seat
As the winter nights have shortened so too have the prospects of finding a Formula 1 drive for two of the sport's brightest prospects.
At the end of the season, Williams released Hulkenberg in favour of cash-rich GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado.
Hulkenberg's sudden unemployment has complicated matters for Di Resta as the German is now closing in on the Force India seat the Scot has been warming all season as the team's reserve.
To add to the dilemma, Force India's incumbent drivers, Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Luizzi, still have ties to the team with Italian Liuzzi contracted for 2011 and German Sutil sitting on a one-year option to continue.
After joining the Silverstone-based team as a reserve for 2010, the Scot drove capably in eight first practice sessions on grand prix weekends.
The auburn-haired Di Resta, a laidback and likeable addition to the paddock, quietly impressed the team with his technical feedback and commitment.
At the same time, the 24-year-old proved he was a winner by clinching the German Touring Car championship (DTM) for Mercedes on his weekends away from F1.
His manager Anthony Hamilton - father of McLaren driver Lewis - says: "There hasn't been one bit of negative information from the team about Paul.
"He has done a great job, the team love him. He's a champion and a leader. Nothing has changed; he is still a contender for a race seat. We are very positive."
Hulkenberg, however, is also an intriguing prospect for any F1 team.
The 23-year-old stole the headlines in the midst of the dramatic championship battle by snatching a blistering pole at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Yes, Hulkenberg had benefited from some tactical groundwork by team-mate Rubens Barrichello on his previous qualifying lap but the German's feat was still far beyond that of any of the other four F1 newcomers.
Humorous and straight-talking, Hulkenberg came into F1 on the back of a glittering junior career - where he won titles in karting, Formula BMW, Formula Three and the 2009 GP2 Series - and is now a highly-rated F1 prospect
Both Hulkenberg and Di Resta are gifted drivers - but in F1 money often talks louder than talent.
Despite being impressed by Hulkenberg's "exceptional" skills, Sir Frank Williams let him go in favour of Maldonado simply because he could bring in a reputed 10m euros - largely from Venezuela's state oil company - at a time when the Williams team had lost several key business partners.
When it comes to securing their own future, the problem for both Hulkenberg and Di Resta is that they don't bring any cash to the table.
Hulkenberg himself says: "It has become much, much harder to open doors if your application does not come with a serious sponsor package and you really only rely on your talent as the sole 'sales argument'."
The complex situation at Force India means the team need to find the cash to buy Liuzzi out of his existing contract - so contributions from a replacement would be welcome.
And of all those in the frame only Sutil, who is understood to have bought around 2m euros to the team in 2010, has the immediate funds to strike that deal.
Force India's engine partner Mercedes-Benz could also influence the team's decision.
What if its own-brand Mercedes Grand Prix team wanted to scout out potential replacements for Michael Schumacher or Nico Rosberg by paying to place a driver in another team?
Di Resta is already well-connected and well-liked by Mercedes, especially after his DTM win, but Hulkenberg, as a rising German star, could be a perfect future fit for the Silver Arrows.
For now, Di Resta and Hulkenberg are playing the waiting game.
Hulkenberg's management company, whose founder Willi Weber also plotted Schumacher's career, opened talks at the final race in Abu Dhabi and said they had expected Force India to have made their decision by now.
Di Resta is sitting down with the team this week to discuss his future role.
Although nine cockpits are still to be filled on the 2011 grid, options elsewhere remain squeezed.
Hulkenberg's team have already approached Toro Rosso and Renault but found no room at the inn.
Toro Rosso will stick with Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, with newly-signed third driver Daniel Ricciardo waiting in the wings. The renamed Lotus Renault team are widely expected to retain Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov alongside star driver Robert Kubica.
Timo Glock has confirmed he is staying at Marussia Virgin, with Brazilian Lucas di Grassi and Belgian Jerome D'Ambrosio - both of whom come with sponsorship - the favourites to join him. Back-of-the-grid Hispania first need to find someone to build their 2011 car before confirming drivers.
Di Resta already has a contract to continue as Force India's third driver in 2011, while Hulkenberg has been linked to the same role at Mercedes and Ferrari.
In the fickle world of Formula 1, it is never a bad idea to have a Plan B.