December 13, 2017

Toro Rosso keep F1 guessing ahead of US Grand Prix

13 October 2017, 08:45 | Henrietta Morgan

Toro Rosso keep F1 guessing ahead of US Grand Prix

Toro Rosso keep F1 guessing ahead of US Grand Prix

Gasly raced for Toro Rosso in both Malaysia and Japan, as boss Franz Tost considers his driver line-up for 2018.

Scuderia Toro Rosso stand in Pierre Gasly is set to miss the United States Grand Prix next weekend, to instead battle it out for the Super Formula Series title at Suzuka, where he is just half a point adrift of the current leader.

Not since Mike Thackwell in 1984 has a Kiwi driven on motorsport's biggest stage but that could change in the next fortnight with Le Mans 24 Hour victor Brendon Hartley looming as a serious contender for the vacant Toro Rosso seat at next week's US Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Renault was pushing hard to drive Jolyon Palmer out and get Sainz in, who could potentially bring the team valuable points in the closing stages of the championship.

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Kiwi Brendon Hartley's potential Formula 1 drive could see him become one of New Zealand's highest paid sportsmen.

New Zealand might be about to have its next Formula 1 driver.

He held the role of Red Bull's reserve driver from 2009-2010 and completed a test for Red Bull in 2008 as well as two for Toro Rosso in 2009 before being dropped from the programme. Hartley was formerly part of the Red Bull Junior Team and has enough Super License points to compete in Formula One; but he is also now contracted to Porsche in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and is purportedly in talks with Chip Ganassi for a 2018 IndyCar deal.

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Who Gasly's replacement will be is yet to be confirmed, but the Frenchman is expected to be back in a Formula 1 seat at Toro Rosso for the final three races of the season, and is still the most likely replacement for Sainz 2018.

However, acquiring the Kiwi will require some ironing out by the Italian Formula 1 team - the 27-year-old is now contracted to Porsche in the World Endurance Championship - a competition he could win this weekend with a solid performance in Fuji.

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