Renault test driver Lucas di Grassi is closing in on a race seat at the new Virgin/Manor outfit for next year, AUTOSPORT has learned, but wants to wait for his current outfit to sort its driver plans first before committing.
Di Grassi has held detailed talks with Manor about a race seat for its debut campaign in 2010, but is also on the shortlist for a race seat at Renault next year - and will join the outfit for one of its post-season young driver test days.
The Brazilian is upbeat about his chances of securing a race seat - and said he hoped the situation would become clearer once the season has finished.
"At the moment it is looking pretty good," di Grassi told AUTOSPORT. "My commitment at the moment is with Renault. There is still one seat to be decided, and I had a very, very successful time here. Renault has helped me a lot, so my commitment is with them.
"At the moment it is deciding which driver it wants, and I know there are new teams interested in me, but it is difficult at the moment to see which one is going to be the best.
"We know some of them are not going to be the best, but which one will be the best package will become clearer in a couple of weeks. That will provide a better view of the whole thing."
Although di Grassi would not confirm how far advanced his talks with Manor were, he did admit that the team looked to be the most attractive option for him for next year.
"From what I understand, it [Manor] has the best package available of the new teams - in terms of technical people who have joined the team, in terms of marketing, and in terms of financial backing. I think is very, very serious, so from my side I rate it very high on the list."
When asked how he would rate in percentage terms his chances of being in F1, di Grassi said: "I would say a good 70 percent. At the moment it will depend on the next few weeks, after the season finishes, and then we will see if it goes down or up."
Renault is understood to favour slotting in an experienced driver alongside Robert Kubica next year, with Timo Glock top of the team's target list. Current driver Romain Grosjean is unlikely to be retained for 2010.