Red Bull are attempting to secure a Formula One licence for IndyCar driver Colton Herta, to allow him to succeed Pierre Gasly in their AlphaTauri team next year.
The Austrian motorsport giants, who boast Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez as the main drivers for their eponymous F1 lead team, face a battle to gain an exemption as the 22-year-old Herta does not have enough points to qualify under the FIA's system.
Gasly, who took AlphaTauri's first win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, is wanted by Alpine to succeed Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso.
Herta is the preferred replacement, though the task of convincing the FIA – motorsport's world governing body – to allow his move may be a tough challenge
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is hopeful of securing a licence, telling SpeedCity Broadcasting on SiriusXM he believes there should be an answer before the Italian Grand Prix next weekend.
"We looked at the regulations, we discussed it with the FIA," Marko said. "So it's nothing unreasonable. He won seven IndyCar races and that's comparable to a grand prix I think, so it would be a shame if he wouldn't get a super-licence."
Herta enjoyed a two-day testing session with McLaren in July, when he said: "It was different from anything I have ever driven before, but it felt pretty seamless."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said no departure for Gasly would be sanctioned unless AlphaTauri could secure Herta for next year.
"We just need clarity which will hopefully come sooner rather than later, because it holds a key role in the driver merry-go-round," Horner said, quoted by the BBC.
"If the option is not there, the other triggers will not come into play. He is an exciting talent, a young American guy who has been a stand-out talent in the US.
"It will be very interesting to see how he performs in F1. To have a successful US driver could be very interesting.
"Pierre is doing a good job in AlphaTauri. There would not be a desire to change if there was not an interesting option available."