Thursday, 17 may 2018, 05:14 , by Matthew Scott
Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko says Pascal Wehrlein is not currently being lined up to replace Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso, but hinted the option remains open to the Faenza squad. Hartley has scored just one point from five races so far in 2018.
The Kiwi wrecked his car in practice at the Spanish Grand Prix and is now certain to spend the second half of the season with engine penalties hanging over him.
Pierre Gasly demonstrated the potential in the Toro Rosso with a fourth-place finish in Bahrain, although it remains the Frenchman's only points finish this season, having been wiped out by Romain Grosjean on the first lap in Barcelona.
Hartley was drafted in surprisingly last season when Marko had lost faith with Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr's move to Renault was brought forward.
However, his struggle to compete further up the midfield could soon come back to cost him, with Marko far from certain when quizzed on reports linking Mercedes junior Wehrlein to Toro Rosso.
"That's not the intention at the moment," Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.
AMuS also reported that Mercedes would be willing to release Wehrlein from his DTM contract if he were to return to F1.
Wehrlein has 40 grands prix under his belt in spells with Manor and Sauber, however he was unable to keep hold of his seat in the Swiss squad after they took on Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc as part of a renewed engine deal with the Italian brand.
The 23-year-old German has been taking part in his native touring-cars championship with Mercedes, having previously won the series in 2015 before making his F1 debut.