Recently-crowned five-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb has revealed that should he be given the opportunity by a team and sufficient testing time, he 'would go to the Formula 1 grid in 2010'.
The record-breaking Frenchman – who triumphed on Wales Rally GB for the first time in eight attempts last weekend – took to the track for Red Bull Racing in Barcelona last month, as a prize for his most recent WRC crown.
Having previously participated in a car swap with then Renault ace Heikki Kovalainen at Paul Ricard in late 2007, Loeb impressed Red Bull and fellow observers by lapping consistently and strongly around the Circuit de Catalunya, winding up a competitive eighth-quickest of the 17 drivers present on the day he got behind the wheel.
Though at 34 he is considered to be too old to make a belated F1 debut now and is firmly contracted to his employers Citroën for next season, the 47-time rally-winner has been openly critical of both the 2009 WRC calendar and the FIA's new proposal for Super 2000 regulations – suggesting he would walk away should the governing body push ahead with its plans, which has in-turn led to speculation that maybe, just maybe, it is still not too late.
“The team bosses think I am too old,” Loeb told French newspaper Libération
, “but mentally I am not – age would not be an obstacle for me.
“With a testing programme in 2009, I would go to the Formula 1 grid in 2010.”
Demonstrating his innate versatility and tremendous raw talent, the Alsacien also recently traded places with Peugeot sportscar star Stéphane Sarrazin as he stepped into the cockpit of the Lion's Le Mans 24 Hours runner-up 908 HDi, again at Paul Ricard and again proving to be rapidly on the pace in unfamiliar machinery.