Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost admits that there is a high possibility that Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will line up for Toro Rosso in 2017. Gasly made his debut for the team in Malaysia of this year, stepping in for Daniil Kvyat who was dropped.
Hartley's chance came when two vacancies opened at Toro Rosso last weekend at Austin after Carlos Sainz left for Renault and Gasly contested in the Super Formula finale. The former Red Bull and Toro Rosso test driver was drafted in after years of competing in the World Endurance Championship.
Speaking at the FIA press conference in Mexico on Friday, Tost said: "We want to test them for the rest of the season as there is a high possibility this will be the driver line-up for 2018. Both are Red Bull drivers, both are highly skilled drivers.
"Brendon is a very high-skilled driver, he is very competitive," Tost continued. "I am really happy that he is back and I can tell you we give him a competitive car, he will be there and he will fight in F1 for success. I hope next year we will bring together a competitive package that he can fight for victories and other positions [with]."
After his clean debut in Austin, Hartley admitted in Mexico that the pressure was only going to grow heavier on his shoulders. Reflecting on Friday running at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the Kiwi claims he is gaining more and more confidence.
"We had a bit of a slow start this morning because of an engine problem from the word go in FP1, so we lost a bit of time, but the team did a great job to get the car ready for this afternoon’s FP2. I feel I’m getting better on the short-runs and to end up P13 isn’t bad.
"I learned some good lessons on the longer runs and, even if we had an engine failure, the rest of the day was very positive and I got a lot out of it. I’m a lot more well-prepared than a week ago! We will now work hard tonight and I look forward to tomorrow!"
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing