Formula 2 Star Markelov Rules Out Toro Rosso Call-Up

Artem Markelov - Octane - Spanish GP
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

FIA Formula 2 star Artem Markelov has ruled himself out of speculation surrounding a drive with Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda as a replacement for Brendon Hartley.

Hartley has been linked with a move out of the team after struggling for pace at the beginning of the 2018 season, with rumours suggesting that DTM and Mercedes-backed driver Pascal Wehrlein inline to replace the Kiwi driver.

The New Zealander joined Toro Rosso towards the end of the 2017 season as a replacement for Daniil Kvyat, who was dropped from the Red Bull programme.

Red Bull‘s Dr Helmut Marko told Auto Motor und Sport that they have no intention of replacing Hartley during the season.

“That’s not the intention at the moment.” said Marko.

But Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has admitted that the team are open to bringing in a Japanese driver in as an expansion with their new engine partner Honda. Nirei Fukuzumi, who currently races in Formula 2 with BWT Arden is favourite to join the Italian team.

However, Russian driver Artem Markelov has come out and ruled himself out of the seat if an offer came to his door.

The Russian Time driver is currently Renault Sport F1 Team‘s development driver, signing with the French team this year after competing in F1’s feeder series GP2, now known as Formula 2.

He told Sport FM that even if Renault allow him to join Toro Rosso, he wouldn’t take the seat because of Dr Marko’s suppose reputation relating to young drivers.

“Would I agree to go in the place of Hartley? If Renault gave the go-ahead it’s possible, but of my own volition I would not sit in the Toro Ross” said Markelov.

“Knowing Dr Marko, knowing how he ruins the careers of young drivers, I don’t need that,

“There are also rumours that Christian Horner could leave Red Bull, and that Red Bull wants to leave formula one.  So they’re just rumours but I don’t know what the prospects of being at Toro Rosso and Red Bull are.”