Former world champion Fernando Alonso says he is unlikely to decide on his Formula One future until after the Italian Grand Prix in September - a move that could potentially put a logjam in the drivers' market.
Alonso is understood to be a free agent from Renault next season if the team do not finish in third place or higher in the constructors' championship.
And with a man as talented as Alonso likely therefore to be on the market, ambitious teams are unlikely to want to commit to finalising their line-ups until the Spaniard has made a final decision about where he wants to race.
As Autosport revealed last month, Honda Racing have made Alonso their number one target to race alongside Jenson Button next year, while Red Bull Racing could also be in the hunt as they seek a replacement for David Coulthard.
But despite the interest, and continued speculation about links to Ferrari, Alonso has said he is happy to sit back and wait before making a decision about his plans for 2009.
"I think (I will decide) after the summer when all this period of races, then the break and then Belgium and Monza are over," said Alonso.
"They are very important races for us to try to get this fourth position in the constructors' championship. And after that will be time to think about what the possibilities are for next year."
Honda Racing team principal Ross Brawn fuelled talk about a tie-up with Alonso after admitting at Silverstone his team were interested in the Spaniard for 2009 - if he could not secure a deal with Ferrari.
"I'm not completely clear on the Ferrari situation. Felipe (Massa) has a contract until the end of 2010 and he's doing a very good job so I'd see no reason to change that," he explained.
"If Kimi (Raikkonen) doesn't wake one morning and decide to stop, then it doesn't look like it's a situation that is going to change in the short term.
"If he doesn't get in to Ferrari, he's got to pick a horse and back it for the next few years. I guess he's got some thinking to do about what he wants to do, but we've not made an approach."
Alonso himself, when asked about if he was in talks with Honda, said: "No. I am not talking to anyone at the moment."
With Renault currently seventh in the constructors' world championship, Alonso admitted that improving the team's form this year would also likely be a factor in his decision - because it would affect the team's budget for 2009.
"We need to work as soon as possible on next year's car, but this year's position at the end of the championship is very important for the team," he said. "It's not the same if you finish seventh or you finish fourth, which is the area that Renault is moving towards now.
"We are seventh in the constructors', but we know that our target is to finish fourth and we can do it. So that will make a big change in the budget and everything for next year, so we need to push in two parallel projects, the R28 and the R29, as hard as we can I think."