Lotus' former chief, Eric Boullier, is the hot favourite to replace Whitmarsh at Woking, even though McLaren is not ready to confirm it.
"New car but no boss", read the headline at the weekend by the Spanish newspaper Diario Sport.
A team spokesman was quoted by Germany's Die Welt: "We are not talking at the moment about our management leadership."
On the other hand, Lotus' team owner Gerard Lopez has said he is replacing Boullier, bu
t some have questioned Lopez's commitment to F1.
For instance, the Luxembourger was spotted in the paddock only a handful of times in 2013.
"Without going into detail," Lopez told France's RMC, "I had very serious health problems (last year).
"I'm not one to talk about my privacy, but I found it a bit hurtful to hear that my lack of presence was because I have no interest in F1 when in reality I was in a hospital bed.
"But this is the world of F1, where we do not seek to understand, we judge," he added.
Nonetheless, speculation Whitmarsh is a leading candidate to be Lotus' longer term team boss is now rife.
"There has been contact with Martin," an insider with close links to Lotus told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.
"He is not necessarily the only name they have approached. There are perhaps three but he might be the most appealing of them, given his experience at McLaren."