Having recently conceded that 'the top ten seats are gone already' with regard to F1 2011, it looks as though Nick Heidfeld could find his racing options for next season restricted to either a return to his former employer Sauber, or else a new career with a roof over his head in the DTM.

Having come close to deals with both McLaren-Mercedes and Mercedes Grand Prix this season - only to be pipped at the post by Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher respectively - Heidfeld took on a test and reserve role with the reigning double world champions, in the hope that he might reclaim a race seat somewhere next year.

However, top teams McLaren, Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and - depending upon whether or not Schumacher elects to prolong his at-times painful comeback - Mercedes all look set to field unchanged driver line-ups in 2011, and whilst at just 33, Heidfeld has professed that he 'feels too young for the DTM or for taking part in Le Mans', it is looking increasingly as if he may end up in the pan-European touring car championship, alongside fellow ex-grand prix stars David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher.

Like the Scot, the man from M?nchengladbach would most likely dovetail that with a continuing role in F1 - but according to German newspaper Bild, he might yet find an opening at Sauber, where he competed from 2001 until 2003 and then again between 2006 and 2009 under BMW ownership. It is being mooted that Pedro de la Rosa - for whom Heidfeld was shunted aside in 2010 - could be in the firing line to enable his German rival to return to a team that many opine Peter Sauber should never have allowed him to leave.