Esteban Ocon could keep his Formula 1 aspirations alive with a reserve role next year.
Although once in the running at Renault and McLaren, the current Force India driver now looks set to exit the grid.
Williams is more likely to sign another pay driver for 2019, while Dr Helmut Marko said Red Bull will only consider him for Toro Rosso is Mercedes severs its ties to the 22-year-old.
A reserve role at Force India could now be the most likely scenario for Ocon.
"It could happen. None of it is decided, but if you are in the simulator, the only way to do that is to be in the car from time to time," team boss Otmar Szafnauer said at Sochi.
'He is young and talented enough'
Szafnauer said it is then possible that Ocon returns from his "sabbatical" in 2020.
"How long was Raikkonen away? Two years? But he came back and did pretty well. He (Ocon) is young enough and talented enough," Szafnauer added.
Ocon admits that a third driver role is a possibility for 2019.
"Let's see what the solution is. Of course, third driver is third driver, but the more mileage I can get if I'm not driving next year is always a help.
"Let's see, but at the moment I'm still looking for a place to race next year," he said at Sochi.