Toro Rosso have officially confirmed their 2018 driver line up with Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley stepping into the seats for them. The announcement means that only Williams and Sauber are yet to name their full drivers line ups for next season.
Both Gasly and Hartley had been expected to retain their seats for the 2018 season having been drafted in to cover for Carlos Sainz who left on loan to Renault for the remainder of the 2017 season as well as next season, and to replace Daniil Kvyat after he was dropped from the Red Bull Young Drivers Program.
The 2016 GP2 champion Gasly made his debut for Toro Rosso at the Malaysian Grand Prix, while 2017 World Endurance Champion and Le Mans winner Hartley made his debut for the team at the US Grand Prix.
The partnership of Gasly and Hartley was the fourth different line-up Toro Rosso fielded in 2017. The team started the season with Sainz and Kvyat as their drivers, though following the Singapore Grand Prix Kvyat was dropped in favour of Gasly. The Russian was given the chance to drive again for the team at the US Grand Prix following Sainz’s early move to the Renault team. Hartley was drafted in to cover for Gasly who was due to compete the season finale of the Japanese Super Formula season, which was unfortunately cancelled due to bad weather. By the Mexican Grand Prix Kvyat was once again dropped in favour of Gasly, leading to the line-up of Gasly and Hartley.
“We’re really happy to have Pierre and Brendon confirmed so early by Red Bull as our drivers for 2018,” said Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost in a statement about the decision. “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. We have been truly impressed by both their steep learning curves. I’m sure they will keep pushing hard and fight for strong results, together with the team.”
He was not the only one to be thrilled by the decision as Hartley, who will be competing this weekend in the final WEC race for the LMP1 Porsche team, was optimistic about the future with the team after previously being looked over for an F1 seat.
“It’s very satisfying to have converted an opportunity that came as a surprise into a 2018 F1 drive, I couldn’t be happier,” said Hartley. “I’d like to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for believing in me and giving me this second chance – dreams can come true.”
Gasly, who was also thrilled with the decision added: “”I’m super happy to race for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2018, for my first proper season in Formula 1. I would like to thank all the people involved, who helped me get here: Red Bull, Toro Rosso, my family and all the ones who have supported me in the lower series. I’m really excited and super motivated to give it my all in Abu Dhabi and the whole of next year! I just can’t wait!”
2018 F1 driver line-ups
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen
Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen
Force India: Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon
Williams: Lance Stroll and Yet To Be Confirmed
McLaren: Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso
Toro Rosso: Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley
Haas: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen
Renault: Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz
Sauber: Yet To Be Confirmed