Contract talks between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes has taken a twist after another driver emerged as a preferred replacement.
The seven-time world champion has yet to sign a new contract with Mercedes and is currently without a team.
It comes two months before the new F1 season gets back underway at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton was struck with Covid, which threw a spanner in the works during contract talks.
But negotiations have stretched on longer than both parties would have wanted and there is a possibility that all offers could be call off.
It is believed the two parties have been struggling to agree on his salary, with Hamilton keen to maintain his £40million-a-year wages and Mercedes looking to cut costs.
According to a source at Formula1news.co.uk, George Russell is ready to replace the 36-year-old ahead of the new season.
The youngster made a huge impression at the Sakhir Grand Prix with Hamilton absent, though the 22-year-old is currently with Williams.
But the Brit has hinted that talks with Mercedes are complete after telling fans on Instagram he is in training ahead of the new season.
However, former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan has told Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff to show Hamilton the door.
Speaking in an interview with F1 Insider, Jordan said: “Apparently the parties disagree on the terms. I just heard that Lewis wants more than Mercedes are willing to pay.
“It’s also about sharing the team’s income and having an influential role in the Mercedes group.
“If I were the boss of Daimler, I would show him the door – either you drive on our terms or you go.”