Brendon Hartley's run with Toro Rosso is over.

And according to Motorsport journalist Bob McMurray, so is his Formula One racing career.

The Kiwi driver was axed by the team after Toro Rosso announced Alexander Albon, who finished third in Formula Two this year, as the new driver to team up with Daniil Kvyat for the 2019 season.

With Hartley's 2018 teammate Pierre Gasly promoted to the Red Bull Formula One team there seemed a chance the Le Mans winner and World Endurance champion would race for a second full season.


But after finishing the season in 19th on the drivers' championship standings out of 20 drivers with just four points and a ninth-placed finish at the USA Grand Prix his best of the season, the 29-year-old's departure wasn't a huge surprise.

According to McMurray, who believed Hartley's performance simply wasn't good enough, said that the Kiwi driver's only shot at staying in Formula One was to be a test driver.

"All the seats are filled now for this coming season, every seat is effectively spoken for, so there's not going to be any seats in Formula One," McMurray told Radio Sport.

"The best he can hope for is to pick up as a third driver, a test driver role with a team.

"He could have performed better, it's that simple really. I'm not being down on Brendon, I think he's a fantastic driver, but he simply could have beaten Gasly.

"So that kind of wraps up his career certainly with Torro Rosso and Red Bull, most probably with Formula One ... maybe it's time for Brendon to start looking at new pastures."

Hartley made his Formula One debut last season at the USA Grand Prix, replacing Gasly for the drive before becoming a fulltime replacement for Kvyat.

He recorded his first Formula One point at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April with a 10th placing. Hartley qualified second to last but moved into the top 10 when seven drivers failed to finish the race. The last time a New Zealand driver earned a Formula One point was Chris Amon at the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix.


Hartley followed that up with a 10th at the German Grand Prix in July and a career-best ninth in Austin. He had five retirements from his 21 races this year including a scary crash at the Canadian Grand Prix when he collided with Williams-Mercedes driver Lance Stroll and was pushed into a wall on the opening lap.

It seems unlikely that Hartley will find a drive at another Formula One team next season. All the driving spots are filled except for one with Lance Stroll expected to be announced as the second Force India driver alongside Sergio Perez.