Daniel Ricciardo can dare to believe that a lifelong dream is his to seize after the news that Sebastian Vettel is to leave Ferrari at the end of this season.
Vettel's contract talks collapsed over a much-reduced salary offer. The four-time world champion, understood to have been presented with only a one-year extension and a huge reduction to his €40 million-a-year terms, could now decide to walk away from Formula One altogether.
Ever since serving notice of his audacious talent as a Toro Rosso rookie, Ricciardo has carried himself like a Ferrari driver-in-waiting.
The Australian combines dazzling overtaking instincts with easy, wisecracking charm, not to mention precious Italian ancestry through his father, Joe.
The discussions between Ricciardo and his agent promise to be intense. In August 2018, a mixture of frustration and sheer impatience persuaded him to make one of the strangest switches of recent times, abandoning his Red Bull seat for a season of grim mediocrity at Renault.
Today, Ricciardo has a priceless chance to prove that his time on the margins was not in vain.
There are suggestions in the paddock that Ferrari have already signed an option on Ricciardo's services.
But at 30, he is still only a fractional favourite, with the Scuderia also considering an approach to Carlos Sainz Jnr.
The Spaniard (25) has been formidably consistent for McLaren, securing the team's first podium appearance since 2014 last November. He is also understood to be out of contract at the end of this year.
That Ferrari would dearly love to poach Lewis Hamilton is not in doubt but the Briton may not be willing to give up his seat at Mercedes while their dominance is so great. (© Daily Telegraph, London)