Takuma Sato is to return to the Formula One cockpit with Scuderia Toro Rosso later this month as part of an evaluation test for a 2009 drive with the team.
The Japanese has been out of action since Super Aguri folded ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix but, as autosport.com reported last month, is a leading contender for a 2009 race seat with Toro Rosso because of his experience and the marketing opportunities his arrival would offer Red Bull in his home nation.
The team have now decided to test him at Jerez, the day after they take a closer look at youngster Sebastien Buemi, while they weigh up what to do for next year.
Speaking about his test opportunity that comes on September 18, Sato said: "I am delighted to be given this opportunity to get back behind the wheel of a Formula One car, after my season was cut short following the Spanish GP.
"It will be especially interesting working with a team that has made so much progress over the course of the year."
Team principal Franz Tost admitted that both Buemi and Sato would bring benefits to the team, who have still not made a decision on whether Sebastien Bourdais will stay on.
"The time has come to try and find a suitable replacement for Vettel, who is joining Red Bull Racing next year," said Tost.
"The Jerez test, the last one of the season, will give us an opportunity to evaluate Buemi and Sato at the same time, as they are both possible candidates for a 2009 seat. Buemi is an obvious candidate, because not only is he already part of the Red Bull family, he is currently performing well in the GP2 series.
"As for Sato, he has proved worthy of a place in Formula One and would be a good fit with the Red Bull spirit, while his recent F1 experience would be undoubtedly valuable to our team."