Alexander Albon replaces Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso for 2019

Alexander Albon replaces Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso for 2019

Toro Rosso have announced the signing of Alexander Albo to complete their line-up 2019, with the Thai-British driver filling up the second seat at the team next to Daniil Kvyat.

Red Bull motorsport director Marko decided Hartley's performances were not convincing enough in his debut full season for him to ever consider that he might promote him to the Red Bull senior team. Hartley's place at the team had been uncertain for most of the season and although he was given until the end of the season to prove he deserved an extension, Red Bull's Helmut Marko clearly made a decision to go back to one of his former proteges. He compiled just four points from the 21 races with a ninth placed finish at the USA Grand Prix his best of the season.

"It's such an fantastic feeling to know that I'm in Formula 1 next year", said Albon.

'Throughout my single seater career, I went through a few ups and downs.

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The Thai driver had one season in the Red Bull Junior Programme in 2012 prior to Formula 2, and more recently had appeared set to race in the next season of Formula E. Now that Albon is confirmed for Toro Rosso, he will be the first Thai racer on the premier grid since Prince Bira in 1955.

After a period of negotiations between the driver and Nissan, the Japanese manufacturer confirmed on Monday that it had officially released Albon from his Formula E commitments, thus clearing his path to Toro Rosso. I've always been motorsport mad and since I first got in a auto it's been my dream to be in Formula One.

'The way he is able to overtake many of his rivals in the races shows that he is ready and matured to race in Formula 1. "He won four races and finished the championship third", Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said.

Hartley made his F1 debut past year and was given a fulltime drive for 2018 following some encouraging performances. Red Bull may give a driver wings, but it can also pluck them off at will.

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