Franz Tost expects a decision to be made in December to whom will partner Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda in 2019, with parent company Red Bull set to make the final call.
With Pierre Gasly departing the team to join Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in 2019, Kvyat was recalled to Toro Rosso for a third spell after a year away from Formula 1 as a test driver for Scuderia Ferrari, but the decision about his team-mate has yet to be made.
Current Toro Rosso racer Brendon Hartley remains in contention to remain for a second full campaign, while his main rival appears to be FIA Formula 2 race winner Alexander Albon, who has opted to leave the Nissan e.dams FIA Formula E team in favour of trying to find his way onto the Formula 1 grid.
“You have to finish the season to get a clear picture,” Tost is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “In December Red Bull will decide the driver line-up of Toro Rosso.”
Tost says it is up to Hartley to prove to everyone that he deserves his place on the grid for a further season, but the points difference between him and Gasly makes for bad reading.
“He showed a good race in Austin but nevertheless if you look to the results he has four points, Pierre has 28 points,” added Tost.
“It means he has to improve his performance if he wants to stay in the team.”
Hartley believes he has stepped up his performances in recent races and feels he is deserving of another year at Toro Rosso, despite the constant rumours surrounding his future.
“I feel like I’ve been performing well in the last events,” Hartley said ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix. “Obviously every weekend I am answering questions about my future or reading about it or read in the press I need to beat my team-mate.
“But in fact Singapore, I was ahead in the race before I had team orders and I was boxed again. I was ahead in Russia before the car broke, I was ahead in qualifying in Suzuka and I was ahead again today.
“So, let’s see what happens. It’s obviously been annoying to answer questions about my future all the time, I’ve said it a few times already. I feel like I’m doing the job and deserve to stay here.”