Toro Rosso confirms Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley for 2018 Formula 1 season
Toro Rosso has announced Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley as its drivers for the 2018 Formula 1 season - thereby retaining the two drivers it is currently running in the car. Its boss Franz Tost had all but confirmed the duo for next season, but added that the final decision lies with the Red Bull management.
However, the outfit has now confirmed the line-up ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi next weekend. "We're really happy to have Pierre and Brendon confirmed so early by Red Bull as our drivers for 2018," said Tost.
"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.
"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. I'm sure they will keep pushing hard and fight for strong results, together with the team."
For Gasly, it is a natural progression, who was waiting in the wings since winning the 2016 GP2 title. He continued his impressive run in the Super Formula this year, where he missed the title by 0.5 points, after a typhoon ruined the season finale.
Gasly commented: "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!"
Meanwhile, Hartley has had a fairytale return to F1, after having being dropped by Red Bull earlier in his career - with the Kiwi driver then switching focus to endurance racing and winning the World Endurance Championship title twice with Porsche in the lead LMP1 category.
Hartley added: "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!"
After the shenanigans in 2017 with multiple driver changes, with both Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat moving out of the team, going with a sorted line-up of Gasly and Hartley seems a logical choice for the Red Bull's junior outfit.