Brendon Hartley was saved from the Formula One chop by his practice and qualifying drives at the Canadian Grand prix.

One of his team bosses has confirmed Hartley was on thin ice before the Montreal race, where he was taken out by local Lance Stroll on the first lap.

Toro Rosso's Hartley had qualified 12th with an upgraded Honda engine before suffering another unfortunate incident in his first full F1 season.

Dr Helmut Marko, consultant to the parent Red Bull Racing team, said Hartley was "perhaps looking a bit better".

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"If the trajectory had not improved, then we would have had to look somewhere for an alternative," Marko told the Germany motorsport-magazine.com.

"But that's not the case and Brendon is now competitive."

Toro Rosso reportedly wanted British Formula Two teen Lando Norris but his McLaren team, where he is the reserve driver, would only release him on loan.

Hartley needed a hospital check up after smashing into the barriers, when Stroll's Williams produced an oversteer. Hartley reported he would be fit for the French Grand Prix this weekend. He lies 18th in the drivers' championship, with a solitary point.

Toro Rosso immediately gave Hartley their support, but his future rests in the hands of Marko who conducts the Red Bull driver development programme.

Hartley has support for now, but Red Bull are often described as ruthless.