Red Bull junior, Sean Gelael, has been confirmed to drive the Toro Rosso in the first practice session this week in Austin, which has sparked rumours that he may be in contention for their second seat next year, alongside Kvyat.
Toro Rosso lost Pierre Gasly to Red Bull from 2019 as the Frenchman was promoted to the senior team to replace the outgoing Daniel Ricciardo, as the Australian joins Renault to partner Nico Hulkenberg.
It will not be Gelael’s first FP1 run-out with Toro Rosso, as he had made four appearances for the Red Bull sister team in 2017 too. He is all of 21 years of age and has suddenly come into reckoning for the second seat.
Toro Rosso were looking at options outside of the Red Bull academy as potential drivers for next season but both Vandoorne and Wehrlein chose to move to Formula E, which has severely limited their options, forcing them to look back at the academy.
The tryout might not yet be such big news as the remaining four races in the season is also a good audition opportunity for Brendon Hartley. The New Zealander had a great qualifying in Japan last time out but fell back in the race after a poor start.
“I am super happy and excited to get things rolling again. I did FP1 in Austin last year so it’s a track that I know, even though it was a bit damp last year,” said an excited Gelael.
He currently drives for Prema powerteam in the Formula 2 championship and if he does make the jump to F1, he’ll be the second Indonesian to drive there after Rio Haryanto, who drove for Manor in 2016.
Toro Rosso could yet go for a left-field option and sign Mick Schumacher to drive for them, as he just won the F3 championship and was rumoured to be in their sights. It may be a move too soon for him but the plus side could be the publicity that the Schumacher name generates.