Toro Rosso seems to be one of the most sought-after seats for the 2019 Formula One season. Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko has said that Pascal Wehrlein is on a “long list” of candidates for the second Toro Rosso F1 team seat in 2019.
Those candidates range from Daniel Ticktum to Mick Schumacher to Esteban Ocon to Pascal Wehrlein.
On Saturday, Daniil Kvyat was officially announced as Pierre Gasly’s replacement at Toro Rosso, leaving the seat currently occupied by Brendon Hartley yet to be confirmed.
Wehrlein has ensured that he is a possible option for Toro Rosso by cutting his ties with Mercedes and making himself a free agent.
He is understood to have met Marko in Graz last week.
Marko admitted that Wehrlein’s availability had made him a candidate.
“It’s a different story now, yes,” he told Motorsport.com. “We haven’t made any decision. He’s on a long list.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has downplayed the possibility, however, suggesting that the German is already committed elsewhere.
“My understanding is he’s off to do Formula E next year,” he said.
Asked if that might change if Wehrlein had an F1 offer, Horner said: “That’s a discussion that we’ll have internally.
“There are numerous options available. I think we’ve got plenty of time. I don’t think we need to be in a rush.”
Marko suggested that Esteban Ocon would be of interest if, like Wehrlein, he was a free of his Mercedes ties – something that Toto Wolff has made clear won’t happen.
“If he’s free from all contracts, we could discuss it,” he told Sky F1. “I mean, all contracts. We have a seat, Mercedes doesn’t have a seat.”
Asked what Hartley had to do to keep his seat ,he said: “Beat Gasly. There’s five races or six left.”
Marko insisted that Mick Schumacher was not a possible candidate, despite his recent run of success in Euro F3.
“No, definitely not,” said the Austrian. “I think it’s too early for him. Let’s see what happens in F2”