Flavio Briatore feels it is only a matter of time before Williams announce Sergey Sirotkin ahead of Robert Kubica as their new driver for 2018.
Kubica was seemingly very well-placed to make an incredible comeback to Formula 1 six years on from his horrific rally accident, but Renault's development driver Sergey Sirotkin is now considered the strong favourite.
The Russian impressed in the post-season test for Williams and has the added bonus of substantial sponsorship to sweeten the deal.
And Briatore believes that deal is all-but confirmed and is sorry to see that Kubica has not been able to fulfil his dream of returning to Formula 1.
"I'm very sorry that Kubica did not manage to convince Williams," Briatore told Speed Week.
"Everything has been tried, but the Russian has an enormous budget. We're talking about 20 million. Kubica could muster between seven and ten.
Briatore also feels that more support should have been on hand to help Kubica complete his return.
He added: "If Robert had returned to Formula 1, it would have been a major success for the sport."
"I find it very strange that the F1 leadership did not lend him a helping hand."