Although not officially confirmed, it is believed that Toro Rosso have chosen the team mate for Russian Daniil Kvyat in 2019.
The outgoing drivers of Brendon Hartley, the New Zealander that has frankly been lack lustre, and the Red Bull Racing headed Frenchman Pierre Gasly, are to be replaced by a blend of experience and youth.
The experienced driver: the Russian ‘Torpedo’ Daniil Kvyat, who seems to be forever floating about the periphery since his demotion from the senior team, allowing the Dutch wonderboy Max Verstappen into the Red Bull Racing in 2016. Then a season and a half at Toro Rosso moving to a development driver role at Ferrari. It was announced that the Russian would return to F1 in 2019 due to a complete lack of Red Bull junior options with enough Super licence points.
TJ13 understands that Dr Helmut Marko had earmarked British youngster Dan Ticktum as a potential Red Bull ‘Athlete’, but unfortunately due to a lack of results in F2, denying the required points for a Super license, prevented the youngster from making his debut
So what can the good Doctor do? Looking back to the past again it seems (not just Kyvat), and an interesting ‘synergy’ with the recently announced Asian edition of the Vietnam Grand Prix perhaps.
The push for F1 in Asia as an easy option for putting on more races, and Liberty has already said Thailand is another target for a Grand Prix.
I digress… but it appears that Marko has earmarked British / Thai Alexander Albon to be the next Red Bull junior, Toro Rosso driver.
Albon has some history with Red Bull, himself a junior but dropped from the program in 2012 due to poor results in Formula Renault 2.0.
The official announcement is expected before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The delayed announcemnt being a result of the contractual commitments linking Albon to Nissan amd their Formula E program.
Albon, twenty-two born in London, has double passport, with English dad and Thai mother.
Thailand has a very close relationship with the Red Bull, current boss – the Austrian Dieter Mateschitz created the brand from a Thai drink created by Chaleo Yoovidhya, and so the popularity of the energy drink in Thailand is huge.
And it was from Thailand that the final push for Albon landing the Toro Rosso drive with significant monetary contributions, securing the seat.