Former Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg says that Esteban Ocon's "terrible plight' is a warning for the future of the whole sport.
Despite a successful season with Force India, Ocon is desperately seeking a race seat in 2019 - but his viable options appear to be drying up by the day.
Ocon seems certain to lose his current place to Lance Stroll, after the team was saved from administration over the summer by a consortium led by Stroll's billionaire father Lawrence.
A hoped-for switch to Renault was then stymied by the announcement that the Enstone-based squad had instead opted to sign up Daniel Ricciardo next season.
Toro Rosso has ruled out signing a Mercedes-affliated driver, and now the 'no vacancies' sign has gone up at Sauber with the news that Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi is to partner Kimi Raikkonen there next season.
It leaves Williams as Ocon's likely last remaining option of staying in F1. But there's a long line of applicants for the position at Grove, meaning the French driver could easily find himself out of luck.
"A situation like Ocon shouldn't happen. That is terrible," was the opinion of Nico Rosberg, who won the title in 2016.
"He is such a sensation," the former Silver Arrows driver told Autosport magazine this week. "The guy has been driving so well, and he doesn't have a drive.
"That is really terrible, so that must be avoided," he insisted.
Ocon's links with Mercedes have emerged as a major stumbling block in his search for a new place on the grid. Last week, Mercedes released former Manor and Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein from a similar long-term partnership so that he could seek a competitive seat as a free agent.
Now the same fate may await Ocon.
Despite the disappointment over Ocon's situation, Rosberg said it was broadly a good thing that the big teams were helping develop young drivers through various programmes and financial support packages.
"Many top drivers have had the necessary support because the F1 teams have got involved like they never used to," Rosberg said. "I think is a good thing.
"F1 teams themselves are taking the initiative, and supporting very young drivers, so I don't think it is such a disastrous situation.
"Maybe it is a little bit worse than it used to be, but we generally need to keep an eye on it."