It appears Toro Rosso made a mistake when it confirmed Pierre Gasly would be driving alongside the returning Daniil Kvyat at the U.S. Grand Prix as it still remains uncertain he will be allowed to do so.
On Saturday evening, several hours after qualifying, Renault announced it had reached a mutual agreement with Jolyon Palmer to walk away from his deal, allowing Carlos Sainz to join for the final four races ahead of a full switch in 2018. That announcement was then followed by one from Toro Rosso, saying Daniil Kvyat would return to the cockpit in Austin alongside the man who has replaced him at the last two races, Pierre Gasly.
That would have meant Gasly missing out of the Super Formula title showdown despite being half a point behind championship leader Hiroaki Ishiura. The Frenchman signed up for the series with Honda after failing to secure a seat at Toro Rosso for this season, though he remained part of the Red Bull programme.
Honda, set to supply Toro Rosso with engines next year, is keen for Gasly to complete the season and beat rival manufacturer Toyota to the championship.
When asked for clarification on the situation on Sunday after the Japanese Grand Prix, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko told reporters: "It's only correct concerning Kvyat and Gasly is a decision that hasn't been done yet."
"It was a mistake because [the press release] came out late yesterday and there was a misunderstanding."
Marko was keen to stress the error only related to Gasly, meaning Sainz will still be leaving for Renault and Kvyat will be returning to action at the Circuit of the Americas.
Gasly says he does not mind which scenario ends up happening as he sees benefits in both.
""The two options are exciting for me. If I go to Super Formula, fight for the title and come back to Mexico and finish the season with Toro Rosso that would be great, because a title is a title. But if I can go to Austin and race with Toro Rosso and end the season with them I will not complain because it is a fantastic opportunity.
"Also it's a good experience for me to be in F1. At the moment, we need to wait and I'm pretty sure we will find out next week or the week after and everything should be confirmed."
The uncertainty raises the intriguing topic of who Toro Rosso could draft in at such short notice. The Red Bull junior programme does not enjoy quite the same depth as previous seasons and the team currently has no young driver with enough superlicence points to compete in F1. Sean Gelael, who has contested several free practice sessions for the team recently, does not have anywhere near enough points to step in this year -- it also seems unlikely he will have enough to be a contender for a 2018 drive.
Former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi has enjoyed a successful Formula E career since being cut by the team in 2012, winning the all-electric series' second season. Marko told reporters Red Bull has several drivers in mind for the one-off appearance if needed but remained tight-lipped on who they could be.
When asked if it could be Buemi, Marko cryptically said: "With Red Bull, anything is possible."