Nick Heidfeld is on the verge of an early return to Formula 1 this season, AUTOSPORT has learned, with sources suggesting that he is close to a deal that could see him drive for Sauber from the Singapore Grand Prix.
The German has been on the sidelines this year, having originally been test driver for Mercedes GP before recently assuming the development role for Pirelli.
However, sources have suggested that Heidfeld is now close to agreeing a deal that could see him back in a race seat for the next event in Singapore.
It is understood that if a deal is agreed then Sauber may move Pedro de la Rosa aside for the final flyaway events - with Kamui Kobayashi's place at the team secure now that he has a contract with the outfit for 2011.
Team principal Peter Sauber declined to say anything about the situation when asked in Italy on Sunday.
"I do not wish to make any comment about our drivers," he told AUTOSPORT.
Heidfeld has spent seven seasons in total racing for Sauber, during two separate spells. He competed for the outfit between 2001 and 2003 and then from 2006 to 2009.
De la Rosa returned to F1 this season after three years on the sidelines, and has scored six of the team's 27 points.