Mercedes GP is planning to hire a reserve driver for the 2011 season, but has denied having approached Nico Hulkenberg for the role.
The team has been left without a reserve since Nick Heidfeld joined Pirelli and then Sauber during the 2010 season. Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug believes there is value in having a test driver, despite the lack of testing allowed.
"You can do a lot of simulator and a lot of work in the simulator," said Haug during the launch of the new Mercedes at Valencia. "You can probably do a shakedown or whatever, but really testing on the circuit is absolutely limited to the minimum as you all know but you have to have – a better expression is a reserve driver.
"So should you be in a position to score good points when one of your drivers is not capable of driving the car, you should have somebody who can jump into the car and do a decent job. We are working on it and I think we will have a reserve driver."
Haug denied, however, speculation that the team has been in talks with Force India reserve Hulkenberg.
"We are in contact and have ideas for a third driver, but currently there is no contact to Nico Hulkenberg in that respect. But I am sure that he improved last year, and if you win GP2 and if you put a car on pole you have the right ingredients but we are not negotiating with him.
"He is contracted to Force India to my knowledge. He is a guy who did a good job who was improving last year but we have no contacts these days."