Following media speculation, Spyker confirmed on Tuesday that Christijan Albers' contract to race for the Dutch team in 2007 has been terminated with immediate effect. A statement referred to "commercial difficulties" with the pay-driver, while rumours suggest that India's Narain Karthikeyan and Honda test driver Christian Klien are first in line for the now-vacant seat alongside Adrian Sutil starting at the Nurburgring in less than two weeks.

It's understood that Klien and Karthikeyan, contracted respectively to Honda and Williams as test drivers, have compiled the biggest budgets for the seat, but that Spyker test drivers Markus Winkelhock and Adrian Valles are also in the running.

Christijan Albers has refused to rule out taking legal action against Spyker for dropping him from the Dutch team's 2007 race lineup. Silverstone based Spyker insists that one of the 28-year-old's personal sponsors has failed to pay up this year.

But Albers refers to a pre-season pledge by the team that, in a situation such as this, his seat is nonetheless secure for the entire calendar. He also suggests that the defaulting sponsor in question, thought to be the real estate developer Mingya, was contracted directly to Spyker rather than to him.

"Despite the problem with the sponsor I received an oral and written guarantee in January that I would drive the complete season," Albers is quoted as saying by the magazine Formule 1 Race Report. He added that, before contemplating legal steps, he hopes to first discuss the matter with his former bosses. (GMM)