Toro Rosso thanks Hartley

Four days after announcing that Alexander Albon will partner Daniil Kvyat in 2019, Toro Rosso has thanked Brendon Hartley for his efforts with the team.

The statement reads as follows:

Following the recent announcement that Alexander Albon will join Scuderia Toro Rosso to race alongside Daniil Kvyat in 2019, we would like to thank Brendon Hartley for his campaign with the team.

After a hugely successful sports car career, Brendon returned to Red Bull’s F1 family, making his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso at the 2017 United States Grand Prix.

Brendon has played an important role in the development of our partnership with Honda and his experience and feedback has proved highly beneficial. We wish Brendon all the best for the future.

Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal, Franz Tost, said: “We would like to thank Brendon for his hard work with the team. It was not an easy task to move from sports cars to Formula 1, especially at short notice. His consistency over the final four races of 2017 earned him a 2018 race seat and, while ultimately we were not able to continue into 2019, he has been a key part of the team and aided the development of the Honda powertrain. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

The release comes in the wake of a statement from Honda’s bosses in tribute to Hartley, which came just 24 hours after Albon’s confirmation, and a response from the New Zealander which thanked “almost all of the 500 strong Toro Rosso staff”.

In the eyes of many, Hartley, who was brought in to replace Kvyat after the Russian had been dumped by the team for the second time, was not given a fair crack of the whip by the Faenza outfit; used as a guinea pig in respect of Honda’s switch to Honda power units in 2019, and in deference to teammate Pierre Gasly who was marked out for bigger things.

Certainly, the kiwi will have every right to see this ‘gesture’ as too little, too late.