Pascal Wehrlein is contemplating a possibility of racing in the Japanese Super Formula championship this year as a means of boosting his F1 comeback chances.
The Mercedes protégé who was dropped by Sauber at the end of last year in favour of Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc will return to the German DTM series this season.
The 23-year-old driver hasn't given up on his career in Grand Prix racing, and is relying on DTM to keep his hopes alive, and perhaps on Super Formula.
"Yes, that opportunity still exists," Wehrlein said on Wednesday. "I could do an additional programme [besides DTM].
The German series, which he won as a 20-year-old in 2015, remains his main objective however, and one which could still provide a springboard for him to jump back on to the F1 bandwagon.
"I think so. If I can be strong from the beginning, it could put me in a better position," he admitted.
"But I haven’t thought much about that. I just want to give my best this year. Then hopefully I will be in a good position next year."
When his chances of remaining in F1 started to dissipate last year, Wehrlein rekindled his relationship with his former DTM team as he sought to avoid a painful year of sitting on the sidelines.
"We could not raise EUR 15 million for the year [in F1]. It's disappointing that it didn't work out but that's the business," he said.
"Unfortunately I didn't get a seat in Formula 1 but DTM has always been an option. That's why the move is relatively easy for me.
"I never lost contact with the team and I went to some races. I was in touch especially with my team, the mechanics and engineers, with whom I won the championship in 2015 - and also with [Mercedes DTM boss] Ulrich Fritz.
"So, it was always an option for me to come back. And then [I also thought] that I would have a year in which I would not race - and at the age of 23, I could not imagine that.
"It took some time until I knew what I wanted to do."