Toro Rosso attempts to replace Hartley with Norris

Brendon Hartley

Scuderia Toro Rosso’s attempt to replace Brendon Hartley with Formula 2 championship leader Lando Norris this season has been rejected by McLaren.

Reports from Europe have indicated that the Red Bull’s sister team investigated the prospect of replacing the Kiwi with the McLaren junior driver.

Hartley has made an uninspiring start to what was to have been his first full season in Formula 1, scoring just a single point and sitting above only Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin on the table.

Team-mate Pierre Gasly, on the other hand, is currently 11th with 18 points to his name.

While Hartley was the innocent victim in Monaco, when he was shunted by Charles Leclerc while chasing 10th-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr, he has also been at fault in a number of significant incidents.

The New Zealander missed qualifying in Spain after a sizeable hit during Practice 3 and caused a frightening near miss with Gasly in qualifying in Azerbaijan when he was moving slowly with a puncture after hitting the wall.

Gasly leads Hartley four-two in qualifying (including Spain when the Frenchman qualified 12th).

According to BBC Sport, Toro Rosso sought to replace Hartley with Norris for the rest of the season.

McLaren, however, preferred to keep hold of the 18-year-old Brit.

“We are not surprised that other teams approach our drivers,” said a McLaren spokesperson.

“They clearly believe they are as talented as we do.”

Speculation that Hartley would be dumped arose between the two most recent grands prix in Spain and Monaco.

Former Manor and Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein and F2 driver Nirei Fukuzumi had been rumoured as potential replacements for Hartley at the time.

While Fukuzumi is in the Red Bull system, he does not currently have the requisite Super Licence for F1.

Honda will have internal combustion engine updates for both Hartley and Gasly for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, for which practice starts at 0000 AEST on Saturday morning.

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