While BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen was playing his cards close to his chest when Crash.net spoke to him at the weekend, Javier Villa could join the list of drivers in the running for the German marques Formula One team in the coming weeks.

Although yet to sample F1 power despite impressive outings in GP2 over the last couple of years, it appears that Villa may get his chance to impress during next week's F1 group test at Jerez, following negotiations between Theissen and manager Alfonso d'Orleans Borbon at last weekend's Formula BMW World Finals in Valencia.

According to marca.com, Villa would look to combine a test role with BMW Sauber with a third season in GP2 - he is, after all, still only 20 - although he has yet to confirm a deal in the support series for 2008. With both Sebastian Vettel and Timo Glock moving on for next season, to race with Toro Rosso and Toyota respectively, BMW Sauber is in need of a reserve, and Theissen has made no secret of the fact that he will be evaluating a range of drivers during the coming winter tests.

Although several names have been mentioned already - most notably Germans Nico Hulkenberg and Christian Vietoris - Theissen also stressed that he would not be confining his search to BMW's homeland.

"We are certainly looking beyond Germany - we have always done that," he told Crash.net, "The fact we had two German guys this year is not so much about their nationality, but more about their having been part of Formula BMW. It is quite easy for us to rate someone who we have worked with for one or two years in Formula BMW, so they have an advantage, but it's not down to nationality. We are looking worldwide, and certainly also to guys who have not been in Formula BMW before."

Although Villa's background does not include a stint in the marque's training category, his claim to a test will no doubt be helped by his manager's involvement in a new budget FBMW series to be run on the Iberian peninsular, as well as the impression he has left on the Munich giant during a brief working relationship at Valencia.

As far as GP2 goes, Villa is most likely to remain with Racing Engineering, having not tested with any other teams in the post-season sessions, but has yet to ink a contract extension with his manager's team.



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