Jacques Villeneuve is set to have a seat fitting in Stefan GP's car in Cologne on Monday, AUTOSPORT has learned.
Team boss Zoran Stefanovic has said that the 1997 world champion is close to a deal with the Serbian squad, which continues to push for a place in the 2010 Formula 1 field.
Stefan has already announced Kazuki Nakajima as its first driver, and is also believed to be poised to sign GP2 race winner Pastor Maldonado as its reserve.
The team's second car is scheduled for completion on Tuesday, and it is understood to be planning a media launch on Wednesday in a location close to its Cologne facility. Although Bridgestone has so far declined to release tyres to Stefan, forcing it to abandon plans to test at Portimao this week, the team is thought to have decided that Avon tyres would be suitable for the launch and a shakedown.
Stefanovic has also revealed that he had discussed a merger with US F1 - which has a 2010 entry but has asked to miss the first four races as its programme is a long way behind schedule. He said these talks had now collapsed despite positive approaches from US F1 investor Chad Hurley.
"Yes, it is true we had some discussions stretching over many days, but these broke down completely on Thursday afternoon European time due to the inflexibility of certain players," Stefanovic said.
"I stress it was not Chad Hurley, who was open to discussions with us, but some of the other stakeholders who sabotaged the talks."