Formula One outcasts Christian Klien and Ralf Schumacher could be poised to follow the likes of Mika Hakkinen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen by switching to touring cars in the DTM.

According to Austria's ORF, the pair - left without F1 rides after missing out on the vacancy at Force India - are set to test with Mercedes at Estoril within the next week, along with four other pilots - as yet unnamed but thought to include Michael Ammermuller and Maro Engel.

The 24-year old Austrian gave up a testing role with Honda in F1 in order to chase a return to racing, being replaced by veteran countryman Alex Wurz, but was then passed over for both the race and reserve seats at Force India, in favour of Giancarlo Fisichella and fellow Red Bull refugee Tonio Liuzzi. A statement issued on Klien's behalf in the wake of the FIF1 announcement revealed that he was exploring other options, thought to include the DTM and sportscars. He famously turned down the chance to carry Red Bull colours in last year's Champ Car World Series after being dropped by the drinks brand's F1 squad.

Schumacher, meanwhile, has also been confirmed for the test, despite denials about a possible DTM future from all sides. Mercedes has confirmed that the F1 veteran would be involved in the test but, as with Klien, pointed out that there was no obligation to give him a seat for the coming campaign.

"Ralf has been offered a test by Norbert Haug a long time ago," a Mercedes spokesman revealed to the official DTM website, "and now, for the first time, there is an opportunity. What comes after the test, however, is totally open."

Schumacher, advised against turning to tin-tops by his brother, has talked about taking a year out from Formula One after being dropped by Toyota and turning his back on Force India, but admits that it will be hard to break back into the top flight in 2009 or beyond, given the pace of change.

 

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