Takuma Sato says he is determined to return to racing in 2010 - and that he will only look at options beyond Formula 1 when all hopes of a grand prix drive have been exhausted.
The Japanese driver has not raced since his Super Aguri team folded before the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix, and he missed out on a Toro Rosso seat for this year after a winter testing shoot-out with Sebastien Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais.
Sato has attended several IndyCar races and been linked to a seat with Gil de Ferran's planned team. But he said a switch to American racing was very much a second choice and he was actively seeking an F1 drive first.
"I went to the Indy 500 too and there is some opportunity [in IndyCar] but I always want to be at the highest level and that's the objective," Sato said. "To me, F1 is an unfinished job so I want to get back in and just have a competitive package to drive, because now I have the experience, I have the speed. I really hope I can do it.
"This weekend for me was painful. To come to Suzuka, where I have a lot of memories, but not racing is not an easy moment."
He said he was chasing opportunities with both the new teams entering F1 next year and established squads.
"We are just communicating," said Sato. "As you know now in F1, in business and everything, it's quite difficult to predict. Of course new teams are coming, which is a great opportunity for me, and of course the current teams too. So we are just communicating with everybody really and trying to find any possibility, not only for F1."
Sato admitted that if he could not get an F1 seat then he would definitely accept a drive elsewhere rather than spending another year on the sidelines.
"I have to have some kind of option for next year because one and a half years out of racing is just too long and to me it's the limit." he said. "If it was only half a season [without racing] then concentrating on F1 is fine. That was the case last year: we did the winter testing and it went perfectly and it didn't happen. That was a very unfortunate moment but I will never give up.
"I'm just attacking every single door and if that opens the doors for next year I will be very, very happy."