If rumours that Fernando Alonso has turned down Toyota in favour of a return to Renault prove to be true, the Cologne team is tipped to turn to new GP2 Series champion Timo Glock as replacement for Ralf Schumacher next season.

Although Schumacher's exit came as no real surprise, the team has not moved to name a replacement, ostensibly because it was understood to be hanging on for Alonso's future at McLaren to be decided. Again, should the Spaniard opt to quit Woking, it would be no great surprise, but the double world champion is tipped to return to Renault for 2008, leaving Toyota to seek an alternative replacement for its departing German.

While Kazuki Nakajima comes well regarded as the leading contender from its junior team development programme, he is more likely to wind up at 'customer team' Williams should he graduate from GP2 next season - and will make his F1 race debut with the Grove team at Interlagos next weekend - narrowing the options open to team chief John Howett.

"Fundamentally, [Schumacher's exit] does not change Toyota's position - right now, we are still looking at the drivers' market situation," he said at last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, "This just means that Ralf is not part of our list of candidates any more and, as we said, we will make an announcement as soon as we are ready to announce our full driver line-up for the 2008 season."

Glock is tied to BMW Sauber at present, having acted as test and reserve driver in 2007, but is keen to land a race seat next season, albeit not with a 'small team'. Williams is understood to be his other option alongside Toyota and, if neither come off, the German is expected to remain in his current role with BMW. The Bild newspaper, however, understands that, with Alonso apparently on his way to Renault, Toyota is preparing to move for Glock, who it will pair with veteran Jarno Trulli.

"You've seen Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton as [GP2] champions for the last two years, and Lewis is almost winning the F1 championship now!" Glock said after clinching the 2007 series title, "I just hope we can get something done for 2008."

 

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