Gary Paffett believes he is unlikely to find a race seat with one of Formula 1's new teams next year, and is instead aiming to get another crack at the DTM title with Mercedes.
After impressively topping the second day of Formula 1 testing at Jerez on Wednesday, the McLaren tester said that while he was actively seeking a race seat in the World Championship, budgetary issues would probably prevent him from finding a drive.
"We have been looking [at F1], but even with all the new teams coming in, it's not easy to get a race seat," the British driver told AUTOSPORT. "It seems like most of the new teams require you to have a fair few million pounds in the bank, or that much sponsorship to give the team, so it's more difficult to get a race seat even though there's more available.
"The teams are struggling budget-wise and it's not easy to lay your hands on a lot of money. We've been looking at opportunities, but there don't seem to be that many available."
Paffett, the DTM champion in 2005, said he would happily stay in the series next year after finishing second overall this time around with Mercedes. He hopes to combine his campaign in the tin-top champion with his testing role at McLaren, which he has held for five years.
"I'm focusing on what I've got at the moment," he added. "I've had a great year in DTM with Mercedes and we're looking at probably doing that again – continuing with them and trying to get the championship back for them after three years without it.
"And also continuing my work with McLaren. I've been with them full-time since 2005 and I hope to build on that and hopefully become a more integral part of the team. It's been great working with them and with Lewis [Hamilton], and now with Jenson Button on board, it will be great working in a team with two World Champions."