The rumor mill is spinning a story suggesting that Carlos Sainz could replace Renault's Jolyon Palmer as soon as Hungary as Red Bull and the Spanish driver have fallen out!
According to Germany's Auto Bild, Sainz's recent comments about his undesired future at Toro Rosso exasperated Red Bull to the point where it has now decided to dump the 22-year-old from its lineup of drivers.
Red Bull would accept however Sainz's immediate release and his transfer to Renault if the manufacturer is willing pay an estimated $8 million for the Spaniard's services.
Helmut Marko and Renault Sport F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul are allegedly in talks to reach a deal which, if concluded, would see Sainz replace Palmer at the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly likely filling in alongside Dany Kvyat at Toro Rosso.
Sainz - a long-time favourite of Renault advisor Alain Prost - has been on the manufacturer's short list since last year and is considered to be at the top of its choices for 2018.
Red Bull's alleged ire over Sainz may have also been induced by the family's so-called recent malicious mischief with the media.
Pundits have suggested that the Sainz family purposefully fueled rumors in the Spanish media of Ferrari's interest in Max Verstappen, which in turn generated speculation that the Dutch prodigy would leave Red Bull to join the Scuderia, a move which would promote Sainz to Red Bull Racing.
The Verstappen camp has since denied the story and confirmed its commitment to Red Bull for 2018.
But if Sainz did indeed attempt to plant 'fake news' in the media for his own benefit, it could have been perceived as the last straw by Marko and the sign of a broken trust.
As Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz told Auto Bild in Austria: "If a driver does not want to stay, if the love is extinguished, you cannot force a contract with contracts, you should let go."
Silly season in full swing, or is the story a case of there being no smoke without fire? We'll soon find out...