Helmut Marko has said that Brendon Hartley is in the running for a Toro Rosso seat for next season, but for now is refusing to speculate beyond the race in Austin. Officially Hartley is only in the seat this weekend filling in for Pierre Gasly, who is away in Japan competing in the finale of the Super Formula series due to Honda commitments.
The lack of drivers in the Red Bull driver pool currently has left a crisis within the system, with the choice of who to drive for Toro rosso this weekend extremely limited due to the new super license rules that were brought in to prevent inexperienced drivers coming into F1 to quickly. There are currently no Red Bull backed drivers in any of the traditional top feeder series.
"There are not so many drivers with a super license," Marko said in Austin. "Brendon was always fast as a Red Bull junior, he just didn't withstand the pressure and made mistakes.We always had contact with him, also through personal sponsorship.
"When it came clear that we needed someone, we wanted someone from our pool. Sebastien Buemi had a contract with Toyota which may not have been a problem, but he also has a contract with Dams (for Formula E). But Brendon was released so we decided on him. We will look at the performance of Kvyat, Hartley and Gasly and then decide about next year."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing