Paffett hopes to drive for Prodrive in 2009

Gary Paffett has said he is still hopeful that Prodrive will be able to take part in Formula 1 s 2009 season.

Paffett had been one of the drivers hotly tipped for a race seat at Prodrive in 2008 however Prodrive have had to pull out of the 2008 season after Williams issued a legal challenge over their intended use of a customer car.

Prodrive still have plans to enter F1 and are hoping that they will feature on the 2009 grid. Meanwhile, Paffett has been left without an F1 race seat and will continue to test for McLaren.

“I have still got the links with McLaren and Prodrive and, as long as they can get the situation sorted out, and the link with McLaren is still there and viable, then there has to be a very good chance again,” Paffett told autosport.com. “And that is what we have got to look for. But at the moment there is no confirmation of an entry, so I have to concentrate on what we are doing now, and do the best for the team in getting the new car ready.

“Myself and Pedro, along with Lewis and Fernando did a great job in getting the car to where it was last year, and I think we need to try a bit harder to make the car a bit better this season.”

Paffett is understandably disappointed at not getting a chance to race in 2008. “It was a massive disappointment,” he continued. “I can’t deny it wasn’t. The Prodrive team were looking fantastic, the links with McLaren were perfect for me and I feel I had a very good chance of getting one of the seats there. It certainly was my best chance yet to get into an F1 car.

“Then, with Fernando leaving the team there was a seat free and I, for sure, had a shot at getting in that seat too, as Pedro did. We were both looking at doing that. I had some testing at the end of last year which went very well. I hadn’t been in the car for just under a year, but I got back in and was on the pace pretty much straight away and did some very good testing. So I gave myself the best chance I could.

“The team made the decision that they felt is right, and it was up to them, but for sure there was a hint of disappointment there. That was a bit of a longer shot than Prodrive, but still there was a chance there and if there is a chance and you don’t get it then certainly there is some disappointment.”