Bruno Senna has claimed that he is optimistic of being on the Formula One grid next season, despite being forced out of the limelight by the late collapse of talks for a 2009 race seat.
The Brazilian had expected to be a part of the Honda line-up this season, but missed out when the Japanese manufacturer - with which he had tested on several occasions - withdrew from the top flight. With confirmation that former team boss Ross Brawn would lead a rescue bid only being confirmed at the last moment, the squad opted to retain proven talents Jenson Button
and Rubens Barrichello, leaving Senna to contemplate a year on the sidelines after missing out on several plum GP2 rides.
Keen to keep his hand in, even if his name would be missing from the single-seater headlines, he headed for the Le Mans Series, but insists that the move has not harmed his chances of finally making the jump to F1 in 2010.
"At the moment, we're negotiating for an F1 seat with quite a few teams - some more advanced than others," Senna revealed to journalists at a promotional event for EA Sports' latest driving game, "Unfortunately, we're still a bit far away from actually bagging anything, but we're going forward."
A mix of new and established teams have been mentioned in connection with signing Senna, but it is former GP2 team Campos Meta - which was reportedly pursuing the Brazilian for a GP2 seat this year - that is favourite to land his signature.
Fellow newcomer Manor Grand Prix, along with existing F1 teams Williams, Toyota
and Force India
all also feature on the rumour mill, but Senna admits that a lot will depend on how the global economic situation affects their decisions going forward.
"F1 is in a very difficult moment, and this is not really helping my case very much," he confessed, "Some teams are struggling financially, to know where they're going to be next year, which engine they're going to use.... There are many doubts for all the teams.
"However, we've been dealing with some of the teams and we know which one is the best option. The fact is that it's better to be with a team currently there, knowing the team will continue growing, rather than starting from zero. Obviously, what I would like is to be with a team currently in F1.
"That's what we're trying for but, if it's not possible, we should be there with one of the new teams. We're definitely working hard and, hopefully, we'll get it. One way or another we'll be there, and hopefully next year I'll be racing in at least 18 grands prix."