Nico Hulkenberg says he is determined to remain in "the Formula 1 orbit" to try and return to the fray full time in 2022.
Formula 1's super-sub was dropped by Renault at the end of the 2019 season and replaced by young hopeful Esteban Ocon.
But the German returned to action with Racing Point last summer, taking part in Silverstone's double-header in which he replaced Sergio Perez following the latter's positive COVID-19 test and then filling Lance Stroll's seat at the pink squad when the Canadian fell ill ahead of the Eifel Grand Prix.
Aston Martin F1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer recently said that Hulkenberg could continue to fulfill the role of reserve driver for the team this season
But the 33-year-old admits his priority is finding a full-time seat for 2022, albeit with a competitive outfit.
"I want to stay in the Formula 1 orbit and try to find a permanent cockpit for 2022," Hulkenberg told GQ. "Who knows what will happen this year.
"There were talks [for this year] but it didn’t fit together. I’ve had a good ten years in Formula 1 and I’m not the type who wants to keep going by the skin of my teeth.
"Especially not at the back, just to be there. So I deliberately said no and I was at a point where this time out was quite welcomed for me personally."
Hulkenberg underscored the disparity that exists between those racing at the front and the drivers that form F1's midfield, where talent is often a secondary consideration.
"You have to differentiate a little bit between the top and the rest of the field," he explained. "In the midfield and at the back, other factors such as politics and financial aspects play a role in decisions.
"I’ve experienced that myself. In 2010, right after my first year, Williams sacked me because they got into financial trouble and Pastor Maldonado came with a decent dowry.
"Of course, it was bitter and frustrating, but these are factors beyond my control.
"I can drive the way I want, that’s higher politics and I have to accept that – and I did.
"But I looked ahead again relatively quickly, refocused on the future and concentrated on the things I can control and influence myself. Everything else is wasted time and wasted energy."