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Hartley and Gasly to stay at Toro Rosso in 2018

Toro Rosso has confirmed it will retain its current driver line-up of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly next year.

The Red Bull junior team started the season with Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat, but after Kvyat was dropped for Gasly (initially in Malaysia) and Sainz left the team for Renault, it ended up with a completely different driver line-up for the final few races of the year.

Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly have both joined Toro Rosso towards the end of the season. Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Gasly has been in line for a Toro Rosso drive since he won the GP2 championship last year, while Hartley has seen his F1 career revived after making a successful name for himself in sports car racing.

On Thursday the team confirmed its current pairing will continue into 2018 as Toro Rosso makes the switch to new engine supplier Honda.

"We're really happy to have Pierre and Brendon confirmed so early by Red Bull as our drivers for 2018", Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said. "During this last part of the year they've shown that they're ready for Formula 1, getting to grips with the car quickly, showing good performances and always demonstrating to be prepared for the challenge.

"We have been truly impressed by both their steep learning curves. As we know, F1 is something that not all drivers can adapt to this fast! Therefore, we're looking forward to having a full year with them; one where we can hopefully provide them with a good package which, combined with driver consistency, can surely put them in the best possible situation to deliver.

"I'm sure they will keep pushing hard and fight for strong results, together with the team."

Gasly made his debut for Toro Rosso at the Malaysian Grand Prix this year, joining the team as he engaged in a title battle in Japan's Super Formula Series. He missed the U.S. Grand Prix in order to compete in the Super Formula season finale, only for the event to be rained off and cancelled. He returned to Toro Rosso in Mexcio and by the time he finishes in Abu Dhabi, he will have five grands prix under his belt.

"I'm super happy to race for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2018, for my first proper season in Formula 1," he said. "I would like to thank all the people involved, who helped me get here: Red Bull, Toro Rosso, my family and all the ones who have supported me in the lower series.

"I'm really excited and super motivated to give it my all in Abu Dhabi and the whole of next year! I just can't wait!"

Hartley was drafted in at Toro Rosso ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix and has combined a championship-winning World Endurance Championship campaign with his F1 drive at the final few races of the season.

"Really amazing to be confirmed as a Formula 1 driver for next year with Toro Rosso - It's very satisfying to have converted an opportunity that came as a surprise into a 2018 F1 drive, I couldn't be happier!

"I'd like to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for believing in me and giving me this second chance - dreams can come true. I'm now going to carry on working harder than ever in order to finish this busy end of season on a high and start the new year as strong as possible... Bring it!"

Author: Laurence Edmondson, ESPN UK
Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/21435557/hartley-gasly-stay-toro-rosso-2018

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