Nico Hulkenberg is one of Formula 1's most experienced drivers and generally seen as one of the grid' steadier hands, but his chances of remaining in 2020 are becoming increasingly thin.
Hulkenberg will depart Renault after three seasons at the end of the year. Esteban Ocon will replace him on a two-year contract.
The German had sought a similar deal from the French team, but they were only willing to offer a one-year extension, with another held as an option.
Confidence of keeping a spot on the grid remained high, however, and Hulkenberg recently told n-tv: “There is definitely interest and options that we are working on, there are negotiations and talks, but nothing concrete has been decided yet. But if I want, I’ll get another race seat.”
It was perhaps widely assumed that Hulkenberg was discussing an offer from Haas, whose team principal Guenther Steiner had been very open of his two-man shortlist to partner Kevin Magnussen in 2020: incumbent Romain Grosjean and Hulkenberg.
Grosjean's under-performance had prompted thoughts that he may be replaced, but Haas have confirmed another year for the Frenchman ahead of the Singapore GP.
There are now very few seats remaining for next year.
Hulkenberg has been mentioned as an outside candidate for Red Bull, with Max Verstappen onto his third team-mate in under a year alongside Alexander Albon.
However, Dr Helmut Marko and Christian Horner remain steadfast in wanting to promote from within, and Albon's tentatively positive start to life in the senior team could block the path for Hulkenberg, who is unlikely to accept an offer from Toro Rosso, the 'junior' Red Bull outfit.
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