Germany's Timo Glock will race for the Toyota FormulaOne team next season, replacing compatriot Ralf Schumacher.
Cologne-based Toyota said in a statement early today (NZ time) that the 25-year-oldhad signed a multi-year deal. He will partner Italian Jarno Trulli.
The contract marks a return to the Formula One starting grid for Glock,the BMW Sauber test driver and winner of the GP2 support series thisyear, who started four grands prix for now-defunct Jordan in 2004.
It also further narrowed the options open to Spaniard Fernando Alonso,the double world champion who split with Mercedes-powered McLarenthis month after a bitter and controversial season.
Alonso is expected to return to Renault, the team that took him tohis two titles, with no declared vacancies at any of the other topteams.
Schumacher, the younger brother of retired seven times champion Michael,has also yet to find a drive for 2008 despite assertions that he expectsto stay in the sport.
"It's a great feeling to be a Formula One race driver again," saidGlock, who was rookie of the year in the US ChampCar series in 2005.
"Even though I have not raced in Formula One since 2004, I have testedquite regularly so I expect it will take very little time for me toget back in the groove.
"To return to Formula One racing as GP2 series champion is a realhonour and we've all seen how well Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamiltonhave performed as champions so that is very encouraging," he added.
Germany's Rosberg, now with Toyota-powered Williams, and McLaren'sHamilton won the GP2 championship in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
"He has demonstrated a fighting spirit and good race craft in GP2so we believe he is the right man for the job," said Toyota team bossTadashi Yamashina.
Toyota, who have yet to win a race in six seasons, said they hopedto reach an agreement with BMW Sauber for Glock to be released tostart testing at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain on December 4.
Toyota, with one of the biggest budgets in Formula One, ended the2007 season in sixth place with 13 points.