Red Bull Racing has touched base with Nico Hulkenberg with a view of recruiting the Renault driver for him to act as a potential replacement in 2020 for the under-performing Pierre Gasly, according to F1's rumor mill.
The Frenchman has yet to match the pace of team mate Max Verstappen this season, with the latter scoring more than double the points of the former in 2019.
However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has defended Gasly's subdued performance relative to his team mate, insisting that clear signs of progress have emerged in the last few races.
But F1's silly season is telling everyone that Red Bull would rather be safe than sorry, and has thus engaged with Hulkenberg just in case Gasly fails to significantly improve.
According to the Italian edition of Motorsport.com, Helmut Marko initiated talks with the Hulk in Monaco last week.
The Red Bull motorsport boss is apparently impressed this season with the German driver's pace relative to Daniel Ricciardo, Renault's high-profile recruit who earned his credentials with Red Bull.
It may not be too late for Gasly, but it's definitely time for the Frenchman to perform in line with expectations.
However, the 23-year-old isn't stressed about his current state of affairs or the future.
"There’s a couple of things that explains sometimes the lack of performance we have, that we know inside the team, and there’s no need to really get stressed or worried," he said last weekend in Monaco.
"I think I need to stay focused on my job and extracting the best I can with the package I have and this is what I stay focused on at the moment.
"There’s surely things I need to improve and adapt to this package but that’s why I’m confident things are going better and better and we’ll be able to extract even more performance in the coming races."
For Gasly, patience is a virtue when a driver joins a new team.
"For sure coming into a new team you want everything to be perfect from day one," he added.
"But objectively it’s not possible and you’ve got to be patient and try and focus at improving every single detail to get the maximum out of it.
"For sure I would like the evolution to be faster than the rate we have now, but by staying focused on the work I need to do, [I need to] keep pushing the team and finding the direction with my engineer, who is also starting in Formula 1 now.
"Everything is taking a bit of time but we’re going in the right direction, progressing, and hopefully we’ll keep going like this and get even better results in the coming races."