Jaime Alguersuari believes Formula 1 is "an auction" after failing to secure a seat for the forthcoming season.
The 22-year-old Spaniard was released by Toro Rosso at the end of the 2011 campaign and spent last season as Pirelli's tyre tester while working as a summariser for BBC Radio 5 live.
He claims he was assured of a seat.
"Those who committed themselves with me have given reasons I must accept but I do not share. F1 has become an auction," Alguersuari said.
"I assure everyone I have been convinced for most of the 2012 F1 season that my seat was secured in a team that usually scores.
"They did tell me and I believed it to be true. Due to this conviction I passed up other opportunities in other championships."
BBC's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson says that "pay drivers" - those who bring sponsorship with them to secure a seat and which the Spaniard was referring to - "have been a fact of life for as long as the sport has existed".
Alguersuari was the 2008 British Formula Three champion before moving up to F1.
He joined Toro Rosso in 2009 and, at the age of 19 years and 125 days, became the youngest driver in history to start a Grand Prix when he took his place on the grid in Hungary.
The Barcelona-born driver is adamant he still has a future in the sport.
"I know how old I am, I know my track record and I'm convinced I deserve a winning car in F1," he continued.
"Is my career over in F1 at 22 years old? Despite everything, I strongly don't think so.
"So I will continue to be active in Formula 1 [with Pirelli], and complete more kilometres than any third driver in this discipline."