Torro Rosso would be better served by firing its cars then they are by taking the seat from New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley.
Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda finished ninth in the 2018 F1 constructor standings.
The Red Bull junior team has never finished better than sixth. They seem to prefer to finish seventh, which they have on five occasions since they joined the F1 competition in 2006.
The team plans to replace Hartley with Alexander Albon. Albon has been running various series. He was in the FIA Formula 2 series with DAMS, making his debut in 2017 and winning four times from 44 starts, including 10 podiums, so it would seem as though Torro Rosso is making a change for the sake of change.
Hartley’s most recent F1 outing, the season concluding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, was marred by an early crash, where a crash in front of him forced him into the grass.
“I didn’t have anywhere to go with the crash into turn eight and I had to go off track to avoid the cars in front,” Hartley said.”I ran in to some debris and damaged the front wing so I had to stop on the first lap and then did a whole race on one set of tyres with the old spec front wing, which was always going to be an uphill battle.”
It is always interesting to speculate what a driver such as Hartley could do if he had Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes beneath him, but we think it is fair to say that he would immediately encounter improved fortunes.
Hartley is still contracted through 2019, so he will not have to resort to driving for Uber immediately. He scored four points in the 2018 drivers’ championships, a result that left him 19th of the 20 drivers.
Force India has a seat open, but that is expected to go to Lance Stroll, a surname whose irony is not lost on anyone.
Hartley’s driving future is anything but certain, but he has turned in a few good showings, so while it might be sometime before one of the higher teams offers him a seat, he is young and has some time on his side.