Ben Collins, recently outed (by himself) as Top Gear's Stig, says that it would be childish of the BBC to get rid of the character after the furore.

He also says the show should hold an X Factor-style hunt for his replacement.

The former Stig said: "My view is that one Stig goes out and another can go in. People could turn up in balaclavas and they could all have a go."

With Simon Cowell rumoured to be leaving the UK version of the X Factor after this series, perhaps the music mogul would have some spare time to judge wannabe tame racing drivers.

Collins suggests Michael Schumacher as a possible new Stig, given his previous experience in the role, but it is unlikely that the seven-time F1 world champion would want to audition for the role given his extensive experience.

Collins has written an autobiography about his seven years on the hit show that was the subject of an attempted High Court injunction by the BBC, who wanted to prevent the Stig's identity being revealed.

It goes on sale this month.