Mercedes DTM drivers Paul di Resta and Maro Engel have admitted that the chance to move to Formula One remains the ultimate aim as they prepare for the resumption of the German touring car series' season at Brands Hatch later this month.
di Resta in particular has shown his talents in single-seaters, having secured the 2006 F3 Euroseries title ahead of then ASM Formule 3 team-mate Sebastian Vettel – now regarded as one of the hottest up and coming drivers in F1.
Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg are amongst the drivers to have made the move into Formula 1 having previously competed in the Euroseries and while he admitted his regret at not being able to follow some of his former rivals up the single-seater ladder, di Resta said he hadn't yet given up on his F1 dream.
"Absolutely," he told Crash.net Radio
when asked if he regretted not being able to make the move up to either GP2 or F1 itself. "My goal is still Formula 1 but I am enjoying the DTM and it is a great championship to be involved in. But my ultimate goal remains Formula 1 so I am hoping that one day I'll get the chance to do that."
Engel meanwhile, a driver with Mercedes connections from his time competing in the British F3 International Series, admitted that he didn't regret the decision taken to move into the tin-top series for the 2008 season – albeit in a year old car – although he said that F1 also remained the dream for the future.
"I am very pleased with my decision to move to the DTM and I am happy where I am," he said. "I am setting out to be successful and prove myself in the DTM and that is what it is all about for me.
"[However] F1 remains the dream, as it is for many young drivers. At the moment, I couldn't be happier with the position I'm in. Saying that, I want to prove myself in the DTM, be successful and win races, and when I have done that, maybe I could think about whether there is the possibility to go back towards single-seaters and F1."
Engel's team-mate for his debut DTM campaign is a driver with plenty of F1 experience in the shape of Ralf Schumacher, but Engel said he hadn't spoken to the former Williams and Toyota man about a possible move.
"At the moment, we are both pretty busy trying to move up the grid in the DTM and that is our main focus," he said. "F1 isn't the focus for me at the moment until I have been successful in the DTM.”
Aside from Schumacher, Christijan Albers and Markus Winkelhock have experience of racing in F1 from their time with Spyker, while former DTM champion Gary Paffett continues to carry out testing duties for McLaren.