Mercedes has a "brand new" chassis in the luggage in the event that Lewis Hamilton rejected the car he was assigned for the French GP.
Although the team insists the swap was always scheduled, Valtteri Bottas - already surrounded by speculation about his future - is this weekend at the wheel of the chassis Hamilton raced earlier in 2021.
Title contender Hamilton, on the other hand, has the chassis with which his Finnish teammate struggled so badly with at Baku.
"There's something not right with the car, man," the seven time world champion told his engineer on the radio during Friday practice.
At the same time, Bottas was highly competitive, and consistently faster than Hamilton despite using the second-fastest medium tyre.
"It is difficult to say if it's the chassis or the track conditions, but I definitely felt better than I did two weeks ago," Finnish media quote Bottas as saying.
When asked after the session if he suspects there is indeed 'something wrong' with the chassis, Hamilton answered "I don't think so".
"Normally you can't feel any differences between chassis, especially when the circuit is so different between Baku and here," he said at Paul Ricard.
Team boss Toto Wolff also pointed out that the car Hamilton is now driving was fully competitive in Bottas' hands as recently as Monaco.
"But you never know," he admitted. "If the driver feels like something is wrong, we're not going to try to make a point of it. You just change it.
"If it calms the drivers down, we have a brand new chassis waiting here. We can always do that," said Wolff.