Timo Glock has admitted to looking into the 2011 season with another eye on the future.
"2011 is an important year, with the driver market moving," said the German, who is facing his second year with the new Virgin team.
The 28-year-old's career was on the rise in 2009, until Toyota decided to pull out of Formula One.
He had some talks about 2010 with Renault, whose new R31 car for 2011 looks like a potential winner.
But Glock instead plumped for Virgin.
"When I had to make that decision, Formula One was in a difficult situation," said Glock, referring to the withdrawal of major carmakers and rumours that Renault would be the next to vacate the scene.
Indeed, Renault did flee, but the team's new owners Genii kept the team afloat and it's now looking in a strong position with major Lotus sponsorship.
"It was hard because I had seen first hand a company like Toyota saying 'Well, now we're going over here'. So from a personal point of view I went for the safe option.
"Of course you can say now 'If only I'd signed'. But it could have been signing up with owners I didn't want to have," insisted Glock.
He thinks 2011 will be a big step forward for Virgin, but still has an eye on bigger things.
"Of course it's still my dream to drive for a top team like Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes," said Glock.
"But I don't see myself as on the back burner. If for some reason 2011 doesn't work out, I need to be preparing for the future," he added.