Paffett eyes F1 race seat for 2008
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, December 4th 2006, 15:07 GMT|
McLaren test driver Gary Paffett is confident that he is on course to land a Formula One race drive in 2008, ahead of what is likely to be a one-year return to the DTM next season.
Paffett came close to signing as Honda Racing's tester for 2007 but is understood have turned his back on the option at the last minute after an offer from McLaren that he could not refuse.
There are suggestions that the deal includes the guarantee of a 2008 race driver - possibly with a Mercedes-Benz-backed B-team.
Speaking at the Autosport Awards on Sunday night, Paffett said that any return to the DTM next season was only as a means of keeping him racing-sharp prior to a Grand Prix assault the year after.
"I would not say DTM is 100 percent certain, but it is pretty close," he said. "I am continuing with McLaren and I have learned a massive amount with them. I am still working on getting an F1 drive for 2008, and seeing about a way to get back to racing.
"I love racing and to get back to the DTM would be fantastic. We are finalizing something and we are quite close."
Looking towards the future, Paffett said his managers Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle had been flat out trying and get him into a F1 race seat in the future - and he dropped a hint that something was in place.
"I have been trying my whole life to get to F1. Mark and Martin have been trying hard and we are getting close. We have big plans for 2008, and a year racing in the DTM would be great for my preparations for 2008."