Roberto Merhi has emerged as the prime candidate for the second Manor Formula One seat.
Motorsport.com understands that Manor has applied for a superlicence for the Spaniard, who just last week agreed a deal with Pons Racing for the Renault 3.5 series.
He took part in FP1 for Caterham at Monza, Sochi and Suzuka last year, but at that stage had only been granted a licence for Friday running.
The 23-year-old has a solid record, having won the Euro F3 title in 2011, before moving to the DTM. He was third in last year's Renault series.
It is unclear whether his Manor deal covers only the early races, or if he is giving up the Renault 3.5 seat.
The Renault series does not kick off until April 25-26, and there are few clashes.