Valtteri Bottas could be ousted at the eleventh hour in order to improve the Mercedes team and rescue the career of Esteban Ocon.
That is the view of former F1 driver Robert Doornbos.
Currently, Williams looks likely to choose against Ocon for 2019, after the Frenchman lost his seat at Force India.
But Doornbos says Mercedes may be thinking about snapping him up for the works team, and as quickly as 2019.
"Bottas has been very disappointing in the second half of the season," the former Red Bull driver told Ziggo Sport.
"Maybe Mercedes are starting to think that they should put Ocon in that car. Yes Hamilton is ruthless, but Bottas is 3 or 4 tenths behind in every race. Maybe Ocon can do better.
"There is certainly enough time to buy his (Bottas') contract, so it wouldn't surprise me," Doornbos said.