Daniil Kvyat has an opportunity to return to the Formula 1 grid next season with Williams, according to the president of Russia's automobile federation Igor Ermilin.
Kvyat has been completely dropped from the Red Bull programme despite scoring a point in what turned out to be a brief cameo for Toro Rosso at the United States Grand Prix.
But his early release gives him the time to enter negotiations with Williams, who are delaying the decision on their 2018 line-up until the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
"I really hope he didn't have to learn it from the press," Ermilin told the Russia's Sport Express.
"Formula One is a tough world, but what is important now is that Daniil's hands are untied.
"He now has time to try to negotiate with Williams, even if it is true he is not the only candidate for this place.
Williams' title sponsor Martini require one driver over the age of 25, but Ermilin feels that clause is a negotiable one.
"I don't think age is a major issue, as it can be negotiated. He is old enough," added Ermilin about the 23-year-old.
"So in one way it's good that it happened now, while he still has a chance. It is quite in Marko's nature to make such a statement at the end of the season, when surely it would be too late."