Brendon Hartley has reportedly been told he will be dropped from Toro Rosso at the end of the season.
According to German publication, Bild, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner delayed a media session in order to have a meeting with Hartley, informing him that he will not be retained for the 2019 season.
The New Zealander has just four World Championship points to his name with two races left in the 2018 campaign. It has been a case of contrasting fortunes at Toro Rosso with Pierre Gasly’s 29 points earning him a drive with the senior team in 2019.
Hartley was initially told that he had to start beating Gasly to have any chance of keeping his seat and he feels he has been doing that in recent races, even if the results do not necessarily reflect it.
“I feel like I have gotten stronger through the season,” Hartley said.
“I showed it in Austin even if the press release said there was something wrong with the other car.”
It appears Toro Rosso didn’t take too kindly to that particular reaction as when pressed further on it, Hartley simply said to media: “No comment.”
A whole raft of drivers have been linked with Toro Rosso throughout the season, but Hartley’s replacement is more than likely going to be British-Thai driver Alexander Albon.
Red Bull have already been in contact with Nissan to get Albon out of his deal to drive for them in Formula E.
A formal announcement on Toro Rosso’s finalised 2019 plans is expected in December.