Toro Rosso have confirmed Alexander Albon will partner Daniil Kvyat in 2019, spelling the end for Brendon Hartley.
The New Zealander has been under pressure for most of 2018 in a campaign where he has scored just four points.
And now Hartley has finally been put out of his misery, with the Red Bull junior team announcing Albon as his replacement for next season.
These three started 2018 as @FIA_F2 title contenders…
They finish it as the top three in the championship, with an #F1 seat for 2019 😱
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 26, 2018
“It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year,” said the Anglo-Thai racer, who finished behind two more 2019 drivers in George Russell and Lando Norris in F2 this 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.
“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.”
I really don’t think there are words to describe how excited and proud I am to be driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2019. It was an uphill battle to be on the grid this year and to be given the opportunity to be in F1 is surreal! (1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/dxMqpwxuv6
— Alex Albon (@alex_albon) November 26, 2018
Albon was due to race for Nissan in Formula E, but Toro Rosso have been successful in releasing him from that contract.
“Alexander had an impressive Formula 2 season in 2018,” added team principal Franz Tost.
“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.”
The announcement all-but confirms the 2019 grid, with Lance Stroll’s move to Force India all done bar official confirmation.