Jacques Villeneuve could return to Formula 1 this year if the Stefan GP team gains an entry to compete in the championship, AUTOSPORT has learned.
The 1997 F1 world champion is understood to have agreed terms to join the Serbian squad, which is still hoping to race in Formula 1 this year despite not having an entry, and an announcement could come as early as next week.
Sources close to the team have told AUTOSPORT that the 38-year-old Canadian would likely be joined by Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima with Indian Karun Chandhok serving as a reserve driver.
Chandhok wrote on his Twitter account, however, that nothing had been signed yet.
"To clarify, at the moment there is no agreement with Stefan GP," he wrote. "Trust me, if I have an F1 deal signed and confirmed, I would shout it out proudly from the roof tops."
Villeneuve has not raced in Formula 1 since competing for BMW in 2006, although the Canadian has admitted he was actively seeking an option to return to grand prix racing.
The former Williams, BAR and Renault is understood to be training in the Austrian Alps and has remained active since leaving grand prix racing - having participated in two Le Mans 24 Hours races for Peugeot and an aborted NASCAR campaign.
Stefan GP, who has bought the rights to use Toyota's design for this year, is scheduled to test at the Portimao circuit at the end of the month. The team has also sent equipment both to Bahrain and Malaysia in case it receives an entry to race.
Although the Serbian squad does not have an entry, doubts still surround the future of the US F1 and Campos Meta projects, both of which are listed in the 2010 line-up but are yet to launch their cars or finalise their driver line-up.