Discarded Kiwi Formula One driver Brendon Hartley has been linked to a role with F1 giants Ferrari.

Hartley is out of a job after getting axed at Toro Rosso following a frustrating first full season in F1 where he racked up just four points.

According to a report from Italy, Hartley is among the leading candidates to join the Ferrari team as a simulator driver.

The role is important for car development and race set-up, and can often act as a road back to a full-time job in F1 for drivers on the outer.

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Ferrari lost its 2018 development drivers Antonio Giovinazzi to Sauber and Daniil Kvyat to Toro Rosso, and are now reportedly eyeing Hartley along with former Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin as replacements.

Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel said he is confident his team will sign up the right development talent.

"I'm not a big fan of the simulator, but it is a very important tool for improving the car," Vettel told Corriere dello Sport.

"We must thank the guys who work there, because it is not the best thing to do on a Friday evening.

"For next year (2019) we do not know who will be there, but I think we will be able to find drivers who can do the job well."

Vettel finished second to Lewis Hamilton in last year's F1 championship, while Ferrari also finished in second place in the F1 constructors' championship.

Working with such a prestigious team would be tempting for Hartley, who has also been linked to racing for Porsche in Formula E next year.