Pedro de la Rosa says the situation for drivers without personal sponsorship trying to get into the Formula 1 field is tougher than he has ever known, as he continues to chase drives for 2011.
The Spaniard is currently working as a Pirelli test driver, having lost his Sauber seat following the Italian Grand Prix, but is hopeful of getting back on the grid next year.
"What I know for sure is that if I had money I would 100 percent be able to be racing," de la Rosa told AUTOSPORT. "It's always been like that, but I would say next year is one of the worst I've ever seen in terms of how the teams are selling their race drives."
Despite the disappointing end to his return with Sauber, de la Rosa felt he proved it was worth continuing to push for F1 opportunities.
"It's very clear after this year that I'm fresh again, I'm strong and I want to continue this trend," he said. "Otherwise, if you go as a test driver, I think you need to do one year of test driving, one year of race driving, otherwise two years of test driving. That's why I have to get back racing. But I still have a few tests with Pirelli and I'm enjoying it. So I don't need to make a decision right now. Let's enjoy it a little bit and see what opens up."
The 39-year-old explained that his priority was to find a team he felt comfortable with, even if it was toward the back of the field.
"I don't need to be winning races, don't get me wrong. I'm not that arrogant; I'm not that much of a dreamer," said de la Rosa. "But I want to be in something I enjoy and I want to work with people I enjoy. I want to be able to have a good year, because it might be one of my last seasons. I know where I am, and I'm at a point in my career where I will not be pushed into anything."
He confirmed that he had held talks with the Hispania Racing Team that he has been most strongly linked to in recent weeks, but said he wanted to know more about the outfit's technical plans. Although Hispania has secured Williams transmission for next year, Toyota recently called off a potential chassis deal.
"For me, everything will depend on what their sporting project is," de la Rosa said of HRT. "If it's interesting, I will go for it. Or if it's not, or I perceive it as not being, I will not waste my time. Whatever I do, I always do 100 percent. I put a lot of passion into things. And if I go to Hispania, I would want to feel the same."
De la Rosa added that he was only looking at F1 for 2011, either in a race or test seat, and would not explore other categories yet.
"Next year I'm concentrating only on Formula 1," he said. "Once that train has passed, you will never jump back, You are always young enough to do Le Mans or DTM, but you are not always young enough to do Formula 1."