Jules Bianchi has leapt into pole position to join Paul di Resta at Force India next year.
Earlier, it was expected the Silverstone based team’s former race driver Adrian Sutil was the favourite to replace the Sauber-bound Nico Hulkenberg in 2013.
But Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper said the new favourite is 2012 Force India reserve Bianchi, a 23-year-old rookie who is backed by Ferrari and managed by Felipe Massa’s manager, Nicolas Todt, the son of FIA president Jean.
“The announcement is expected before Christmas,” said correspondent Heikki Kulta.
Kulta added that Force India’s reportedly likely switch from Mercedes to Ferrari engine power for the 2014 V6 regulations was “a decisive factor” in Bianchi’s favour.