Helmut Marko says he would consider bringing George Russell into the Red Bull family in the unlikely event that Mercedes releases the talented Briton.
Speculation is rife that Russell will inherit the plum Mercedes seat alongside Lewis Hamilton next season and replace Valtteri Bottas, with the move sealing the German manufacturer's long-standing mentorship of its protégé.
In Austria, the whisper in the paddock was that Mercedes could confirm this week Russell's transfer from Williams to the Brackley squad where Hamilton will race at least until the end of 2023.
But in the highly unlikely case that Mercedes retains Bottas and cuts ties with Russell, Marko would be willing to pounce.
"Russell is certainly worth considering with the performances he is showing at Williams now," Marko told Motorsport-Total. "But it's utopia. If Mercedes were to let him go, that would be such a faux pas. I honestly can't imagine it."
Marko believes that Russell's fate was likely decided by Mercedes a long time ago and the question of Red Bull snapping him up is pointless.
"If I am properly informed, then it's not relevant," concluded the Austrian.
Former F1 driver Marc Surer believes Red Bull wouldn't be the only team interested in securing Russell's services should he become a free agent.
"I'm sure other teams would stretch their hand out immediately if he was free", the Swiss told Formula1.de. "He won't drive for Williams all his life. That won't happen.
"He wants to move up and he has to move up on his talent. Either they put him in the Mercedes - or he's gone."