Alexander Albon, Formula Two, 2018

Toro Rosso confirm Albon will replace Hartley in 2019

2019 F1 season

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Alexander Albon will replace Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso next year, the team has confirmed.

Albon had originally signed to drive for Nissan in Formula E. However the team confirmed earlier today Albon had been released from his contract.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year,” he said.

Like Hartley, Albon is a former Red Bull Junior driver who has been recalled to join their Formula 1 programme. Albon was part of Red Bull’s programme in 2012.

“Throughout my single seater career, I went through a few ups and downs,” said Albon. “I was dropped by Red Bull in 2012, so from then I knew my road to Formula 1 was going to be a lot harder.

“I worked really hard and tried to impress every time I got in the car, and I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull and Dr Marko for believing in me and giving me a second chance. I’ve always been motorsport mad and since I first got in a car it’s been my dream to be in Formula 1. To be given this opportunity is just incredible.”

After being dropped by Red Bull, Albon moved into GP3 in 2016 and finished runner-up to champion Charles Leclerc. He finished third in this year’s championship behind George Russell and Lando Norris, who will also race in F1 this year.

Albon will join Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso next year. Team principal Franz Tost said Albon “had an impressive Formula 2 season in 2018.

“The way he is able to overtake many of his rivals in the races shows that he is ready and matured to race in Formula 1. Scuderia Toro Rosso is very much looking forward to 2019, as with Daniil and Alex we have two young, very strong and competitive drivers.”

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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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20 comments on “Toro Rosso confirm Albon will replace Hartley in 2019”

  1. I’m really happy with this news. I do feel sorry for the Nissan FE guys and agree with @hazelsouthwell that its harsh, but you can’t blame him for taking the F1 option when it arose.

    I’ve always liked the guy but wasn’t really expecting the performances he’s achieved since the RB split. He does seem to have benefited from their harsh climate. Good luck to him!

    1. I think 1 year is not a great amount of time to prove your skills as an young driver. It was the same with Sette Camara, at that age every bit of experience and learning counts a lot, so you need to give more time and wait to see how it goes.

      1. I agree, but nowadays there’s rarely room for that. With some youngsters jumping up categories and instantly excelling, combined with a shortage of seats higher up, it’s often sink or swim from race one.

  2. Feel sad for Hartley because I like the guy, but truth be told he didn’t really impress during his stint… I guess being away of single seaters for so long takes it toll, no matter how competitive you are in a top series like WEC.

    It’s interesting to note that only 8 people retained their seats for next year. From memory, it’s been the busiest year for the driver market, ever

    1. @fer-no65 It indeed has been the busiest year for the driver market for a little while. There were nowhere near this many changes from 2017 to ’18 as there have been from ’18 to ’19.

    2. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      26th November 2018, 19:29

      Hartley was always filler really though

    3. @fer-no65 2014 was also a year with a lot of roster changes. Only the Mercedes and the Marussia drivers had the same teammates as in 2013.

    4. I am Devo for Brendon, l hope he gets another chance in F1, though unlikely.

  3. Fully expected more or less ever since the US GP weekend, still, though, I feel for Hartley a bit, but the truth is it’s ‘performance/results or out’ in F1 in general, but especially at the RB camp.

  4. Interesting coincidence that Thai-owned Red Bull owns a team that employs a Thai driver.
    Also first Thai driver in F1 since Prince Bira back in the 50s :o

  5. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    26th November 2018, 17:42

    So that is than the last piece of the puzzle for the 2019 drivers – the only not confirmed seat is that of Lance Stroll in his dad’s team.

    I hate the 4 month wait but both testing and start of season has some exciting questions to be answered:
    * Leclerc vs Vettel at Ferrari
    * Honda in the Red Bull – will it drop them down the order or keep at par with room to improve.
    * Will Bottas recover from bad driving by himself and bad treatment by Mercedes in 2018
    * How will the 12 new driver – team combo’s work out
    * How will Kubica manage and how will the 4 F1 drivers manage
    * Can Sauber keep momentum and become a steady top 10 or was it all due to Leclerc
    * Will Mclaren and Williams recover from their poor performance in last years

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      26th November 2018, 17:46

      Oh forgot to add – will distance between Formula 1 and Formula 1.5 becomes smaller, stay the same or grow even bigger.

      Shocking stat is that Hamilton collected 408 points in 2018 while constructors 4-10 combined collected 417 points (yes this excludes Force India points before summer break). Also Hamilton alone nearly beats Red Bull with 419 points.

    2. Lots of interest for us all next season I agree :)

    3. My prediction is that while the Honda engines will be on par in terms of power, there will be issues with reliability. Going from catching up on power to making their engines last the season is a whole different priority.

  6. A sensible decision. If Toro Rosso is meant to be a stepping stone for RB there was no need to keep Hartley. He’ll never end up in Red Bull so it’s wise from them to give that seat for a younger talent.

    Not that I like it. F1 isn’t a correct place for junior teams. Juniors should fine-tune their racecraft in other series. And there shouldn’t be driver academies with their strict rules. Ocon could be a perfect fit for Toro Rosso, but since independent teams are extinct that’ll never happen.

    1. @huhhii, is Albon any more likely to end up in Red Bull? He was, after all, dropped from Red Bull’s programme back in 2012 after just one year (by comparison, Hartley stayed on for four years – so when Hartley was developing, they seemed to see more in him for longer than they did with Albon).

      To be frank, Albon feels like he has a lot more in common with Hartley – somebody whom Red Bull fired in the past, but whom they now resort to because they’ve burned through their other replacements and need a stop gap.

  7. He’s got a better opportunity to prove himself with torro than at Williams or McLaren.

    1. That is based on this year’s cars, no one knows the order for next year.

  8. I was a bit disappointed with Brendon’s performance. I’m not sure how much he contributed to the car off the track, but it looked to me like he wasn’t pushing the car close to its limit on the track.
    While “saving fuel” is good, it comes at the cost of less power being applied to the wheels, which equates to more opportunities for your competitors to pass you and less opportunities for you to pass them.

  9. I haven’t seen a whole lot of him because it’s only this season I’ve paid more than a passing interest in the lower formulas, but having looked at his career to date, and the fact he has never won a(ny) championship, he doesn’t exactly have a stellar CV heading into F1 does he? I think they’d probably have been better off giving Vandoorne a second chance. But hey ho, we’ll see. At least it’s STR giving a rookie a chance, so in that sense fair play to them and him.

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