Nick Heidfeld has slipped down the list of candidates for the reserve driver role with Mercedes GP in 2010.
Prior to Michael Schumacher deciding to make his F1 return this year, 32-year-old Heidfeld was considered a favourite for the race seat alongside Nico Rosberg.
Following a career spanning 169 grands prix, most recently with BMW-Sauber, the German was then linked with the third seat at Mercedes, as well as Renault's vacant race cockpit.
But Finland's Turun Sanomat reports that a Swedish teenager, the reigning Japanese F3 champion Marcus Ericsson, is in fact a more likely candidate for the Mercedes opening.
The newspaper's F1 correspondent Heikki Kulta also reported from Madonna di Campiglio that FOTA is in talks to give young test drivers the chance to run on the Friday of Grand Prix weekends.
Ericsson tested the 2009 Brawn car with Mercedes GP in last December's young driver session at Jerez.