Toro Rosso has confirmed the young Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly will drive for the Faenza squad at the Malaysian GP, replacing Daniil Kvyat alongside Carlos Sainz.
The young Frenchman was expected to join Toro Rosso for the 2017 season but lost out when they decided to keep Kvyat and Sainz.
Since it has been confirmed that Sainz will move to Renault next year as part of the Mclaren Honda engine split. That sparked rumours that Sainz would move by Malaysia, but that is unlikely with Palmer determined to see the season out.
Therefore Toro Rosso will drop Kvyat and allow Gasly to make his race debut.
“Scuderia Toro Rosso was established by Red Bull to bring youngsters from its Junior Programme into Formula 1 and that’s what we are doing by giving Pierre this chance.” said Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost.
“He is the next in line at Red Bull for this opportunity and he has shown that he deserves it, having taken the 2016 GP2 title and this year being very competitive in the Super Formula series in Japan.
“He really has a valid chance of winning the title, as he is only half a point behind the leader. The driver switch gives us an opportunity to make a more informed decision regarding our 2018 driver choices.
“For a variety of reasons, some of them due to technical problems, but others being mistakes of his own making, Daniil Kvyat has not really shown his true potential so far this year, which is why we are standing him down for the next races.
“This will give us the opportunity to evaluate Pierre on track during a proper race weekend.”
Gasly won the GP2 championship in 2016 and so was supposed to join F1 this year but with Toro Rosso electing not sign him yet he copied the path of Stoffel Vandoorne and currently competes in Japanese Super Formula, where he has won two races.
Regarding the switch Gasly said:
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this chance in my motor racing career and specifically, Red Bull, Dr. Helmut Marko and Scuderia Toro Rosso…this is a great opportunity for me,” he said.
“I feel as ready as I can be, having had to be prepared for anything in my role as Red Bull Racing’s third driver this year. I will do my best to perform well with Scuderia Toro Rosso during these coming races.”
It is not yet known how many races He will drive in for the rest of the year as the US race clashes with the Japanese Super Formula finale.