Brendon Hartley

Toro Ross confirm Hartley and Gasly for 2018

2018 F1 season

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Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly will continue to drive for Toro Rosso in 2018, the team have confirmed.

Team principal Franz Tost said Toro Rosso are “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 One, 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 their steep learning curves.”

Toro Rosso began the season with Carlos Sainz Jnr and Daniil Kvyat in its cars. Since then Sainz has been loaned to Renault and Kvyat was dropped by the team.

Gasly made his debut with Toro Rosso five races ago in Malaysia and Hartley arrived two races later at the USA round. Hartley had been a Red Bull Junior Team member earlier in his career but was dropped from the programme in 2010.

Hartley said it was “really amazing to be confirmed as a Formula One 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.”

Since arriving at the team Gasly has finished all four of his races while Hartley was sidelined by power unit problems in two of his three starts.

Toro Rosso will switch from Renault to Honda power in 2018.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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56 comments on “Toro Ross confirm Hartley and Gasly for 2018”

  1. I expect them to be dropped mid year if they don’t delivery good performance. Hartley is mostly in danger of losing his seat after some races, he don’t have much to offer for RBR at his age.

    1. On the contrary. He could turn out to be the exact thing Toro Rosso is looking for. A solid driver who doesn’t really aspire a Red Bull seat if he’s realistic. At the same time he’ll love doing all the work for STR and get points on the board. In the meantime Marko can look for the next Verstappen knowing STR will live on. Worst case he gets dropped for another promising talent, best case he’ll prove to be much better than expected.

      1. If he ends up slower than Gasly he will be dropped very fast.

        1. And who would replace him? He has the seat because Red Bull are short on viable options to fill that seat.

          1. Or someone supported by Honda.

          2. Gelael? You can’t be serious! Hartley is a far better prospect.

          3. As for someone supported by Honda, the first on the line failed all his objectives (Matsushita) hence the presence of Hartley.

        2. Miane l cant see either of these drivers dropped in 2018 both are very capable.. Hartley like Ric has a very even temperment and a team player..the car is the big question in 2018 not the drivers!

          1. @nosehair – Totally agree with this assessment. We can only hope the engine is reliable enough to give these two a chance to show what they can do. Very solid choices for STR’s drivers in 2018.

        3. Toro Rosso are happy to take Gelael’s money for some practice sessions, but they’re not stupid to put someone as useless as him in the driver’s seat. And currently there are no Japanese Honda drivers with enough superlicence points to race in F1. I really don’t know where you got that notion that they’re in danger of being dropped midseason from…

    2. Don’t agree, STR have had no reliability that’s why they haven’t shown anything. I think Hartley has done really really well. Not Max good when he debuted for STR in suzuka fp but he’s beaten Gasly in qualifying already so safer pair of hands and quick enough.

    3. Not every driver comes into F1 in their teens. Hartley is a driver who has matured and developed with Championship success in WEC Le Mans, a cool head that can work effectively with the team to develop the car alongside Honda while motivating those around him is exactly what STR need alongside a rookie.

      Hartley has not had the car under him to show what he can do yet, if he scores points when available and doesn’t make many mistakes he will pretty much what they are hoping for. 2018 will be tough for STR with McLaren and Renault both expected to make gains and a strong Force India around.

    4. Ricciardo. please, be ready!

  2. I just hope next year’s Honda is at least reliable enough for them to prove themselves. Expecting it to be competitive enough, even in year four, is surely too much.

    1. I totally agree, if Honda should have any targets next year they should make the engine reliable first. They need to be able to finish races consistently with the secondary goal of minimal grid penalties (due to power unit changes) in the last half or last third of the season. Performance should not be on their mind, I think, until they can fix the reliability – a fast engine will only do so much if you’re almost always relegated to start at the end of the grid due to power unit penalties.

      1. Not sure, @thedolhins.
        It’s easier to make a fast engine reliable than a reliable engine fast!
        If it’s fast and it breaks down, you know what you have to improve. If it’s reliable but not fast, you do not really know what to do next.

        The problem with Honda is that it is neither fast (power/stamina) nor reliable

        1. Right! They need to strike a balance for next years PU, I hope they can do it, getting more deployment from the hybrid system during a race is probably high on the list!

    2. I’m still scratching my head as to why any team would take on Honda engines for 2018. It’s so bizarre!

      1. Risk management. Specifically, RB need to counter the risk that is posed by a withdrawal of Renault engines from their teams. Neither Mercedes nor Ferrari is likely to give them access to a competitive engine in that event, so they use their junior team to build up knowledge & a relationship with the only alternative left, Honda.

  3. A couple of statistical notes:

    On average, a Toro Rosso driver spends 40 races with the team.

    The shortest spell anyone spent at the team before being promoted to Red Bull was Daniil Kvyat’s 19 races. But as we know that didn’t work out well – he was relegated back and then later dropped for good.

    The next-shortest were Max Verstappen (23 races) and Sebastian Vettel (25). And both of those have done OK…

    1. @keithcollantine In total STR has brought 11 drivers into the sport since 2007 beginning with their most successful one being Vettel. Of those 11 4 have driven for Red Bull. All ever promoted to Red Bull have at least stood onto the podium, and 80% has won races. Mark Webber remains the only Red Bull GP winner never to have driven a Toro Rosso though he did drive a Jaguar. Also, Sainz is the only driver to have ‘escaped’ the programme and gone on to race for another team.

      Despite all the driver changes 2017 looks to be their best season with a 6th place although if you bring 2008 to the current point rules you’d get 103 points.

      Fun fact, Neel Jani, another factory Porsche driver was also a Red Bull junior back in 2007.

      1. @flatsix Liuzzi as well raced for Force India in 2009 and 2010 after being their third driver in 2008, since leaving STR after 2007.

        1. And Christian Klien drove for the mighty HRT…

          1. Oh yeah, and Vettel…obviously.

          2. Michael Brown (@)
            16th November 2017, 21:52

            Ricciardo started in HRT in 2011 with Red Bull’s backing before becoming a 2012 STR race driver.

    2. On average, a Toro Rosso driver spends 40 races with the team
      The shortest spell anyone spent at the team before being promoted to Red Bull was Daniil Kvyat’s 19 races

      So, if both these statistics need to continue without breaking, we need both Gasly and Kvyat to almost see out the entire 2018 season. Sounds like a long shot, doesn’t it.

      1. Why is it a long shot?

  4. The STR13-Honda should give them many opportunities to build on the experience they gained (parking broken down F1 cars) this season…

  5. I think its a bold move for Torro Rosso…and I actually rate Hartley as the better far anyway..
    and the Honda engine seems to almost reliable now, and getting more and more powerful…
    ps on the subject of driver changes, a few sites have said Kubica has a contract with Williams for 2018, but nothing from Keith yet on here…..even to say its not true??

    1. @jop452 Anyone credible?

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        16th November 2017, 17:47

        I’ve heard lots of rumours but not a legit site reporting it yet. I think him getting a run at the end of season test might have got lost in translation a bit…..

        It seems odd to decide now if he’s getting a run in 2 weeks.

      2. Well no one yet as credible as F1fanatic, but F1 on Canal and DIARIO MOTORSPORT…(Brazilian F1 site)..and a couple of mentions on you tube….they could all be guessing of course…..
        Personally I would like Kubica to use Strolls car next week, or even retire Massa a race early…to see what he now is capable of…for the team and himself.


        The same brazilian media sources (Grande Premio, in particular, a site from UOL, controled by Folha de São Paulo, one of Brazil’s major newspapers) that broke news about Massa’s return in 2017.

      4. Globo reporting it as well, they’re apparently meant to be decent. Admittedly according to the F1 subreddit, where downplaying Kubica’s return is tantamount to wrongthink and will earn you twenty years in the gulag.

    2. Kubica has a contract with Williams for 2018

      a Williams spokesperson told The Drive that these claims are “completely untrue.”

  6. Every time RBR issue a statement demoting kvyat, Max wins the following race.
    Guess that means Abu Dhabi is going Verstappen’s way lol

    1. @Jamrock This one doesn’t count, though, as it had already been confirmed before the final 2018 line-up announcement that Kvyat wouldn’t be driving for them anymore and that was between the US and the Mexican GPs obviously, so this announcement has nothing to do with Kvyat anymore.

      1. But I understand that Verstappen’s management is lobbying for Kvyat to land another F1 seat to set up a future Verstappen win ;)

    2. On the contrary if Kyvat never returns to F1, does that mean Verstappen will never win any more races then? Just saying…. :D

  7. Williams give Kvyat a chance, this kid needs to restart himself mentally, he has the talent. I’m talking about 2014 Kvyat !

    1. @redbullf1 l agree, Dannii does need another go in F1, he started well with a promising career , he is still quick, young and capable..Williams is also in the wilderness of F1 after doing a stupid deal that has left them with a under preforming erratic brat ..Dannii would drive for peanuts and with renewed confidence he could be as good or better than massa …di resta to slow..Robert has been out of f1 to long.

      1. @nosehair

        Yes , though my heart is with Kubica still,

        I think Kvyat equally deserves a restart to his career. Far too many times he has been pulled down. There is nothing more bullyish. Taking you down in front of millions of F1 fans can crush any driver on the grid. I am not saying Redbull’s way of bringing up the best talent on the team is bad, certainly they are efficient but sometimes things are just too rough for a good driver.

      2. @nosehair Having been out of F1 for too long is irrelevant. Either Kubica has the pace to drive contemporary F1 or he doesn’t. If he does, I’d take him over weak minded Kvyat in a heartbeat.

      3. @nosehair I think the best thing for Kvyat is to find another series and knuckle down, mature and rediscover his mojo. Getting plunged back into the F1 hothouse, will most likely see him crumble again.

    2. Well, let’s just hope Williams signs Kubica + Kvyat, with Kvyat bringing a good chunk of sponsorship.

  8. Since Kvyat’s partnership with Red Bull came to an end (i.e., since the days between the US and the Mexican GPs), I was 99% sure that Toro Rosso will start next season with the same line-up as they’ll finish the current campaign, so this isn’t news to me, LOL.

  9. One of these two drivers will win a race in 2018, based on the assumption that Alonso has such bad luck, the 2018 Honda engine will be superb.

    1. Completely agree, Fernando’s Law always holds true!

  10. The thing is, Tost, Marko and RB really don’t like failures. Look at Kvyat for that. If one driver is anywhere near as far behind the other as Kvyat and Sainz, then who would Toro Rosso get? Surely, Sean Gelael won’t get the ride as Toro Rosso aren’t that desperate. Will they even think of Kvyat? Or maybe Buemi, as he is a RB associated driver. Honda backed drivers too could be an option.

  11. I think there are a couple of interesting things about this announcement:

    Toro Rosso has approached the Honda issue in a totally different way compared to McLaren, McLaren started the Honda hybrid development with 2 very experienced drivers while Toro Rosso has an almost rookie line-up. Is it a case of having nothing to lose?

    Red Bull is in a rush to find a suitable replacement for Ricciardo, in case he leaves. They will try release Sainz in 2019 once they find a young driver that will be ready for the main team. This year would be a great ‘transition’ year to nurture the new Red Bull driver (Ricciardo permitting).

  12. The dynamic duo…ZZZzzzzz…..

    What a waste of seats

    1. Who would you put in it?

  13. I think Hartley will do a good season. Is a very good driver.

  14. When Toro Roso signed Honda for 2018 I was hoping Dr. Marko is still sane, but after seeing this lineup I’m sure he went nuts.

  15. Smacks of desperation to be fair! It all, as others have mentioned, hinges on what Honda can provide the team. With Toro Rosso falling out so publically with Renault recently, one has to fear for the team’s future.

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