The German DTM championship could bolster its ranks with up to three former F1 drivers next season, according to the latest paddock gossip.
With BMW having swept to the Drivers’ Championship crown in the first year of its return to the championship this year, the German carmaker is looking to increase its presence on the grid from six to eight cars in 2013.
Seven of the seats are already confirmed for next season, but the final drive remains up for grabs for former Toro Rosso driver and 2012 Pirelli tyre tester Jaime Alguersuari, assuming his bid for the second Force India F1 seat fails to come to fruition.
Another player in the mix is former F1, CART and WTCC racer Alex Zanardi, who is reportedly targeting a return to racing after winning three handcycling medals at the London Paralympics.
The 46-year-old double amputee recently tested for BMW – with whom he has enjoyed a long association – in a modified hand-controlled M3 DTM at the Nürburgring. It was Zanardi’s first outing in a touring car since his final race in the FIA world Touring Car Championship in 2009.
However, Zanardi has been quick to play down his prospects of a full-time race seat, despite the German-language Auto Motor und Sport linking the Italian to a drive next year.
“I’m not sure whether our demonstration drive will be anything more than just that, as the level in the DTM may possibly prove to be too high for someone of my age,” he is quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, rival carmaker Mercedes-Benz was quick to give ousted Williams driver Bruno Senna a go behind the wheel during a test session at Valencia last week. The test has prompted speculation that the Brazilian could make a switch to the category if he is unable to secure a race seat with another F1 team for 2013.
The DTM championship would benefit from the presence of one or more former F1 racers, with the end of the 2012 season marking the departures of former Grand Prix winners David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher, who both drove for Mercedes.