Formula One driver-turned-commentator Martin Brundle has admitted that he is not confident either Ralph Firman or Justin Wilson will survive the winter in terms of holding onto their grand prix seats.

Speaking to the Evening News, Brundle said that Firman could suffer because of Jordan's disappointing season, while Wilson could lose out because he does not bring enough sponsorship to guarantee himself a seat at Jaguar in 2004.

"It would be shame if Ralph did not maintain his place," Brundle said, "His learning year was difficult. He had to learn new tracks, endure the difficulties both with the Jordan team and its car and then had that big accident in Hungary.

"Justin will have to bring money for the Jaguar ride. Because of that, I fear that he will become another driver that did not have the chance of show everybody his true abilities."

Brundle confirmed that the current economic climate and climbing costs of competing in F1 were the main obstacle not only to Wilson and Firman, but also to any young driver looking to break into the top flight without the benefit of a major backer.

"I remember that, back in 1989, we had so many cars that we had to pre-qualify," he said, "Now we have barely 20 cars. It was always difficult to get into F1, but now it is more difficult than ever."

Brundle is shortly to stand down as chairman on the British Racing drivers' Club [BRDC], which has strived to help launch - or maintain - the careers of young British drivers through its Rising Stars initiative and support of the annual McLaren Autosport Young Driver Award.