Sergio Perez says Nico Hulkenberg's potential departure from the Formula 1 grid in 2020 "shows how sad" the sport is currently.
Hulkenberg will lose his Renault seat next year, with Esteban Ocon replacing him as the French squad look to shake things up to revive their fortunes.
The German immediately became a target for Haas, but the American squad were convinced to retain Romain Grosjean alongside Kevin Magnussen for another year, leaving Hulkenberg's options thin.
Red Bull have distanced themselves from signing him, while Hulkenberg himself has put doubt on a potential return to Williams.
That leaves just Alfa Romeo with a vacancy for 2020, although the team's close ties to Ferrari could play into Antonio Giovinazzi's hopes of keeping his seat and likely leaving Hulkenberg on the scrapheap.
"I would be very sad, because it just shows how sad Formula 1 is, that talent in the end, or results, don't count enough in the sport," Perez said of Hulkenberg's potential departure from the grid.
"There are so many other factors, politically, and so many other factors out of the hands of the athlete or the sportsman. It should be his decision, whether he wants to continue or not.
"We all know the level of Nico.
"So I think it should be up to him to decide whether he carries on or not, because he is one of the best out there."
Perez and Hulkenberg were team-mates at Force India for three years, before the German departed for Renault.
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