27 Nov 2018

Brendon Hartley out of Formula One

6:26 am on 27 November 2018

The New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley is out of Formula One.

Brendon Hartley.

Brendon Hartley. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

His Toro Rosso team has announced that the Thai-British driver Alexander Albon will join Russian Daniil Kvyat in the team next year.

Toro Rosso made no mention of Hartley in the release announcing the promotion of Albon.

Hartley managed just four points in the F1 drivers championship this season, finishing 19th.

Despite having a two-year contract, Hartley's future came into question midway through his first full season.

The 22-year-old Albon joined the Red Bull programme in 2012... he finished second in GP3 in 2016 and third in GP2 this year.

Brendon Hartley at 2018 US grand prix

Brendon Hartley at 2018 US grand prix Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Albon races under the Thailand flag. It means that 2019 will be the first time there has been a Thai driver on the Formula 1 grid since Prince Birabongse, who raced in the early Fifties.

Franz Tost, Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team principal, commented on Albon's impressive season.

"He won four races and finished the Championship third. 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."

Albon said it was amazing knowing that he would be in Formula 1 next year.

"Throughout my single seater career, I went through a few ups and downs. 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," he said.

"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."

Hartley is yet to comment on his sacking and his future.