Scuderia Toro Rosso have announced that Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly will form their driver lineup for the 2018 Formula 1 season.
Both Hartley and Gasly have been late recruits in the 2017 season in an ever-changing scene for the Red Bull backed team – making their debuts in Malaysia and the United States respectively.
In a statement made this afternoon, Team Principal Franz Tost said that he believes the pair have shown that they are “ready for Formula 1”.
“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.” said Tost.
“We have been truly impressed by their steep learning curves. As we know, F1 is something that not all drivers can adapt to this fast!”
Furthermore, Tost noted the importance of consistency in the driver lineup as the team approaches its first year with new engine suppliers, Honda.
The Faenza based team dropped Daniil Kvyat after numerous sub-par performances as well as parting ways with lead driver Carlos Sainz Jr. on a loan deal with the Renault Sport Formula One Team for the next year.
“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.”
2016 GP2 champion Gasly – who missed out on a rookie title in the Japanese Super Formula Championship by half a point this year – couldn’t contain his excitement at being handed his first full season in the series.
“I’m super happy to race for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2018, for my first proper season in Formula 1.” beamed the young Frenchman.
“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.”
Hartley, who clinched his second World Endurance Championship crown with the Porsche LMP1 Team a fortnight ago in Shanghai was a distant choice at the start of the season, seven years after leaving the Red Bull academy.
However, after some stellar – if reliability blighted – performances in his first three Grand Prix, the New Zealander has fought his way back into the picture, and emphasised his satisfaction at having made the most of what was initially regarded as a one-off.
“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!” 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.”
“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.”