The departure of BMW from Formula One and their subsequent failure to secure a rapid rescue package leaves two top drivers on the available list - so will there be a place for both on the grid in 2010?
The driver merry-go-round often starts now, as people take time to think about their next career move during the summer break, and there's no doubt BMW's current driver pairing Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica will be pondering a little harder than most.
Neither was aware of anything awry at BMW before the announcement, made a little more than a week ago, that the German company could no longer afford to stay in the game.
Unlike Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, who both committed to stick with the remains left by Honda and subsequently came out smelling of roses with Brawn GP, Heidfeld and Kubica have both already declared themselves firmly on the market - and for good reason.
Honda's departure was announced in the winter, just before Christmas, at which point any top seat was already filled for this season. There was little else Button and Barrichello could do but wait in hope or move to a team at the back of the grid. Heidfeld and Kubica have a much better list of options.
Heidfeld must be a good bet to move to McLaren, for starters. Lewis Hamilton has a firm contract for 2010 but Heikki Kovalainen is not yet confirmed for next year and, with McLaren being Mercedes' works partner, a German driver would do very nicely indeed. Especially a German driver who would likely play second fiddle to Hamilton, the team's clear number one.
It seems a better fit than Kubica, who would be looking for a number one position within any team he now joins. If McLaren did want to go down the unlikely route of running two equal drivers again, though, they could still plump for the Pole - and Heidfeld will be very conscious of such a possibility having twice been overlooked for top drives while he was at Sauber, when rookie team-mates Kimi Raikkonen then Felipe Massa left for McLaren and Ferrari respectively.
But it is actually Kubica who might be more concerned. He had placed his career firmly in the BMW camp, confident the combination would go on to secure wins and world titles after his first victory for them last year. He was dubbed the new sensation of F1 in 2009 but, a year on, he has been almost forgotten thanks to a poor car that left him frustrated as another young charger, Sebastian Vettel, took off with Red Bull.
If there is no berth at McLaren, Kubica could return to Ferrari's shopping list to replace the off-form Kimi Raikkonen, if they deem it necessary to do so. That said, many insiders believe the only way the Finn would leave Ferrari would be a money-induced switch with Alonso at Renault, backed by support from Spanish bank Santander.
There is, of course, a second seat at Renault going begging, but again that would offer little chance of a number one spot and the better option may be at Toyota, where he would have a chance of taking the team leader status and probably enjoy a big payday too. Timo Glock will be staying in 2010 and Trulli is believed to be considering an offer to continue, but that was tabled before Kubica became available.
Red Bull are locked out with Vettel and Mark Webber confirmed for 2010 but Brawn may have a seat if Barrichello, as is likely, hangs up his helmet at the end of the year. Kubica could slot in nicely alongside Button there, but there must be doubts about the budget available to stay at the front, as there would be at Williams.
Failing all of these, there is always Force India or one of the new teams, US F1, Campos Grand Prix or Manor Grand Prix - and possibly another, or whatever comes out of the remnants of BMW. One of these could be an option for seasoned racer Heidfeld, but they would really be a last resort for an upcoming star like Kubica.
So my bet would be on Heidfeld for McLaren and Kubica for Toyota. But the merry-go-round has plenty of spins left in it yet...