It’s been expected for a while – partly because they’ve been doing a decent job this year, partly because there’s a massive gap on the Red Bull junior ladder – but it’s now been officially confirmed that Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly will continue with Toro Rosso in 2018.
With Carlos Sainz heading off to Renault to replace Jolyon Palmer and Daniil Kvyat finally being dumped for good, Toro Rosso finds itself finishing the season with two different drivers than it started it with.
2016 GP2 champ Gasly was an obvious choice to step in this year, but double WEC champion Hartley came as a bit more of a surprise, given that he was kicked out of the Red Bull junior programme in 2010.
In between all the grid penalties and engine failures in recent races (of which there have been many) both drivers have performed pretty well.
Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost is happy (a rare thing!) that both are continuing next year anyway, saying:
“We’re really happy to have Pierre and Brendon confirmed so early by Red Bull as our drivers for 2018. During this last part of the year they’ve shown that they’re ready for Formula 1, getting to grips with the car quickly, showing good performances and always demonstrating to be prepared for the challenge.
“As we know, F1 is something that not all drivers can adapt to this fast. Therefore, we’re looking forward to having a full year with them; one where we can hopefully provide them with a good package which, combined with driver consistency, can surely put them in the best possible situation to deliver.”
Gasly said he’s “really excited and super motivated” to continue with the team next year, while Brendon Hartley is also understandably pretty pumped to be getting a proper chance at F1, years after he probably figured that ship had sailed. The Kiwi said:
“Really amazing to be confirmed as a Formula 1 driver for next year with Toro Rosso. It’s very satisfying to have converted an opportunity that came as a surprise into a 2018 F1 drive, I couldn’t be happier! I’d like to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for believing in me and giving me this second chance, dreams can come true.
I’m now going to carry on working harder than ever in order to finish this busy end of season on a high and start the new year as strong as possible… Bring it!”