Formula 2 frontrunner Alexander Albon believes he can fight for a Toro Rosso Formula 1 seat in 2019, but accepts he must convince sceptical Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.
Albon was dropped by the Marko-run Red Bull junior programme in 2012 and by the Gravity management stable linked to Lotus a year later.
But with Toro Rosso scrabbling for credible options to replace an unconvincing Brendon Hartley and Red Bull-bound Pierre Gasly, Albon has sensed an opportunity.
The 22-year-old British Thai driver will accrue enough superlicence points should he finish in the top five in F2.
Albon is currently third in the F2 points, 18 behind McLaren junior Lando Norris and 30 behind Mercedes' George Russell.
"I need to do better if I want to have a seat with Toro Rosso next year," said Albon, who has tied Russell for poles on three this year but won three races to Russell's four.
"I think it's the only place I have [the opportunity] to drive with a team in F1.
"Dr Marko isn't my biggest fan and I need to impress him more to have a chance.
"I think the only chance I have to get to F1 is to have some good results and finish strong.
"I have to concentrate on F2, finish well and after that we'll see."
Albon lacks major financial backing so would need team support to make it into F1.
"I don't have the budget, I'm struggling [for money] in F2," he said. "There's only really three teams that you can be a junior driver for and not bring budget.
"It makes the F1 grid even smaller when you look at it like that.
"My goal is to focus on what I'm doing and hopefully the opportunity will come."
Toro Rosso has previously approached McLaren over placing Norris at Toro Rosso, and could move for him now that McLaren has signed Carlos Sainz Jr to replace Fernando Alonso.
Stoffel Vandoorne is also being linked with Toro Rosso, and the team could yet give Hartley another season in the car.
Dan Ticktum is heavily favoured by Red Bull, but unless a superlicence points change is made, the Formula 3 European Championship leader will fall short of the number of points needed to qualify for F1.