F1 finds itself in one of those rare situations in 2020 in that virtually every leading driver on the grid will be out of contract by the end of the year.
Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz Jr. will all either be aiming to land a new deal with their current teams or seeking pastures new.
Of the top nine drivers in this season's standings, only Ferrari's Charles Leclerc is assured of his seat for 2021, when new sporting and technical regulations come into force, with the cars set to appear considerably different than at present.
It is because of those new rules that the destiny of those drivers is up in the air, and will likely be so for many months into next year.
As Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff pointed out at the Yas Marina circuit: “Racing drivers are always going to try to be in the quickest possible car, and the quickest team is always going to try to have the best racing driver in there.”
While Wolff's comments are undoubtedly true, the problem for the likes of Hamilton, Verstappen and Vettel, is that the new rules mean they will have no idea which team will be the frontrunner in 2021.
Since the introduction of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, we have come to begrudgingly accept the dominance of Mercedes, who set a record this season by winning constructors' and drivers' titles for a sixth successive year.
They will naturally start as favourites for 2020, with Hamilton's sights trained on equalling Michael Schumacher's record of seven drivers' championships, while another eight race victories will take him past the German driver's all-time haul of 91.
But Hamilton has no guarantees Mercedes will maintain such pre-eminence. And there is one far-reaching question: does he even want to stay with the team?
Yes, he has proudly spoken of being partnered with Mercedes, in one form or another, since he was 13, and looking to the future he has suggested he could potentially be a brand ambassador for Daimler. But Hamilton will be 36 in January 2021, so it is likely the contract he signs from that year onwards will be his last in F1.
He has long been touted with a move to Ferrari, so does he bow out with a move to the Scuderia? And for anybody thinking it is just idle media speculation, on this occasion that is not the case.
In Abu Dhabi, the flames were fanned first by Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, and then by his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff. Sandwiched in between, Hamilton hardly nailed his colours to the silver mast.
Binotto rightly hailed Hamilton as "an outstanding driver", a statement of fact, but then added: “Knowing he’s available in 2021 can make us only happy.”
Such a remark followed on the back of headlines in a leading Italian newspaper that Hamilton has recently twice met with Ferrari president John Elkann, a story he was given the opportunity to deny, but did not do so.
Surprisingly, Wolff gave his blessing. Asked whether he was okay with that if it were true, Wolff replied: “I would be totally okay with that. I am totally relaxed about the situation.
“This is a free world and I recognise that everybody needs to explore career options and make the best decision for themselves.
“I have started to embrace the fact that everybody has objectives and needs to have the best possible opportunities for his career.”
You could read into that remark that Wolff was also referring to himself as talk has been rife with regard to his own future, with Hamilton previously suggesting that whether he stays or goes is linked to his boss.
Post-race, Wolff added he was only 75 per cent confident Hamilton would still be a Mercedes driver in 2021. He also opted not to make any kind of impassioned remark about his desire to retain a driver who has won five titles with his team.
“We've talked very openly about Ferrari and what the brand represents,” said Wolff. “As long as we are able to produce a car with a powerful engine then we will always have the opportunity to decide who drives the car.
“But no doubt, Lewis' priority will be to make it work with the team, and I will try to make it work with Lewis. But the most important thing is we have a good car and we are able to decide for ourselves.”
If Hamilton has already held preliminary discussions with Ferrari, expect Mercedes to commence a pursuit of Verstappen once Wolff has sat down himself with the recently crowned six-times champion to determine where his thoughts are at.
With Leclerc tied to Ferrari, signing Verstappen represents a logical step for Mercedes as he will still only be 23 come the start of the 2021 season, and so would represent the long-term future for the team, rather than Hamilton.
And then what about Vettel? If Ferrari sign Hamilton and Verstappen joins Mercedes, could he conceivably return to the team that made him a four-time champion in Red Bull? Would they even want him back?
There have been signs this season he is no longer the driver he once was, that he has become too tetchy behind the wheel, and, of course, he has been beaten by a driver in only his second season in the sport, and who represents Ferrari's long-term future.
There is a possibility the 2020 season could be Vettel's last. Before the weekend he became a father for the third time, so maybe retirement and spending more time with his family is an appealing prospect.
But then you speak to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, and he does not see the landscape changing at all: “Ultimately, when the music stops, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see everybody ending up in the same seats,” said Horner.
However it all plays out, it promises to be a fascinating season, on and off track.