Valtteri Bottas is emerging as a leading figure in the next round of the 2021 'silly season'.
Contrary to wishful speculation, it appears unlikely that Mercedes would pair Sebastian Vettel with Lewis Hamilton.
A more likely scenario is that George Russell will line up with the six-time world champion next year.
It has triggered rumours of talks between Finn Bottas - who has been at Mercedes with one-year deals since Nico Rosberg's retirement in 2016 - and potential alternative teams including Red Bull.
But Jean-Michel Desnoues, an author and correspondent for the French magazine Auto Hebdo, thinks Renault is a more likely destination for Bottas.
That is even though Desnoues thinks Fernando Alonso is actually the favourite.
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"Everything points to the arrival of the Asturian bull," he said. "He is inextricably linked to the French team with which he won his two titles.
"He is charismatic, out for revenge, and for a team that seems uncertain, he is the right man at the right time. It seems that only he is ready to embrace a team that Ricciardo turned down."
However, Desnoues thinks Renault may also embrace Bottas.
"He has shown several times that he can take on Lewis Hamilton, with a Scandinavian calm that contrasts sharply with the Spaniard's volcanic character," he said.
And he said Bottas' current boss Toto Wolff, who has been heavily involved in the management of the Finn's career, may also push for the Renault switch.
"Hamilton's retirement gets closer every year, so to accelerate the development of his ideal successor, George Russell, Toto Wolff would prefer to see his second driver leave for Enstone," said Desnoues.