New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley has been axed from the Red Bull motorsport junior team.

In a brief statement on its website, the team said Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne will move up into Formula Renault 3.5 Series to contest the remainder of the championship alongside Daniel Ricciardo for Tech 1 Racing.

"The move comes following Red Bull Junior Team's decision to release Brendon Hartley, after four seasons with the programme," the statement said.

It appears Hartley, also a reserve and test driver for the Red Bull Formula One teams, has paid for some poor racing results.

Ricciardo is currently second in the Renault World Series (RWS), with two wins in 12 races, while Hartley is sixth, having failed to win a race.

Hartley's results in this season's Renault series have also been erased from the website.

- NZPA