Nico Hulkenberg had the chance to race for Virgin this season, according to his manager, Willi Weber.
However the Williams refugee decided against the move, as he felt he would gain more from being a Friday tester for a bigger team. The German is currently tipped to join Force India, fulfilling a similar role in 2011 as Paul di Resta did last season. Force India is expected to make an announcement about its new driver line-up imminently [see separate story - click here
“For someone like Nico, with a season already behind him, there is little to learn from a small team,” Weber explained in an interview with German newspaper Auto Motor und Sport
“There was an offer from Virgin which was very pleasing, but with another German in Timo Glock, who has been there for a while already, the risk was too great.
“We have been thinking [since losing the Williams seat]: shall we pause for a year? But in today's world you are too quickly forgotten.
“So I think it is better for Nico to still have a presence with a good team where at least he can practice on the Fridays. That is the ideal alternative for him.
“[But] before anything is said officially, I cannot say anything myself [about who he will be joining].”
Meanwhile, Weber warned that the increase in pay drivers is potentially damaging for the sport: “F1 needs to be careful about creating a two-class society, with 14 real drivers and ten pay drivers,” he stated.
“In that way, I refuse to pay for a cockpit for Nico. If you do it once, you will always be needing to bring money, and more and more. Very quickly, this becomes your image.
"I want to sell performance. This boy is too good to be paying to drive,” Weber concluded.