Gary Paffett could be confirmed as Honda's new test and reserve driver within the next few days, this week's Autosport reveals.
Paffett has been in discussions with Honda for several weeks, with his current McLaren employers having told the Briton that they will not hold him back if he wishes to leave them when his contract expires later this year.
Although former Red Bull Racing driver Christian Klien remains a contender for the Honda test seat, it is understood that Paffett's experience of working with a team as successful as McLaren has been key in helping him emerge as the favoured candidate for the job.
A source close to Honda Racing told Autosport: "Being able to choose a driver with close working knowledge of a current top Formula One team is extremely useful for our development plans."
The final contract has not been signed, however, and Paffett is believed to still be considering other options he has in F1.
Should be conclude the Honda deal, then Paffett will work alongside Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello from next year, with Honda's current test driver Anthony Davidson set to switch to Super Aguri as a race driver.
McLaren are likely to only have one test driver next year with testing restrictions meaning teams no longer need two testers on board.