Brendon Hartley needs to make a “big improvement” in the coming races if he hopes to remain in F1 next season, says Helmut Marko.
Hartley’s Toro Rosso race seat has been under threat for most of this season as the New Zealander has failed to match team-mate Pierre Gasly.
And while the Frenchman is stepping up to a Red Bull seat for next season, Hartley is facing the end of his brief F1 career.
All, though, is not lost.
“There has to be a big improvement in the last few races of the season,” Marko told Speedweek when asked about Hartley’s future.
Should the 28-year-old fail to hold onto his drive, Toro Rosso will be seeking two new drivers for next season.
In the past Toro Rosso have called upon Red Bull’s young drivers to fill those seats, however, at present they are facing a shortage of young talent.
As such they are looking elsewhere with several options on the table, just not, Marko hinted, Esteban Ocon or George Russell.
“For 2019 there is no shortlist, but a long list,” he said.
“There are 10 names on there, one with a contract at Mercedes, which is why it probably won’t be him.
“But everything is possible.”