In TV parlance it is known as 'jumping the shark' - the moment when a show begins to decline in quality due to ludicrous plot twists and its protagonists behaving out of character.
If Fernando Alonso's future in F1 were a TV show - and it does feel increasingly like a soap opera - it would now have done just that.
Because German publication Sport Bild says Flavio Briatore is plotting an audacious bid to take Alonso to Lotus with the financial support of billionaire Lawrence Stroll. The Canadian, who made his money in the clothing industry, is known to be considering buying into an F1 squad, with Lotus, Sauber and Marussia all being mooted as possible purchases.
Meanwhile Briatore has a long-standing association with Alonso. He was his manager throughout the early years of the Spaniard's F1 career and ran the Renault team when Alonso claimed back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.
The two remain friends, though their link has been far less public since Briatore was banned from the sport for orchestrating the Singapore Grand Prix 'Crashgate' scandal of 2008. Infamously, Alonso won the race after team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr. had intentionally crashed.
However, this friendship does not explain why Alonso would choose to race for Lotus over his current squad Ferrari, or suitors McLaren-Honda, in 2015. The Enstone-based team have scored just 8 points this season compared with Ferrari's 178 and are known to be in financial difficulties - which could well have a negative effect on their 2015 car.
What's more, Lotus - unlike Ferrari and McLaren - do not have the support of a major manufacturer behind them. The team will be a customer Mercedes team next year following a disastrous campaign with long-time partners Renault.
Indeed, it seems highly unlikely that Alonso would join a squad that his current team-mate Kimi Raikkonen abandoned just 12 months ago because they could not pay his wages, though if he did Kimi would surely raise a smile.
As Alonso rumours go it's the most outlandish yet. Surely a return to Ferrari or a switch to the McLaren camp remain his only two realistic choices.