Toro Rosso Formula 1 chief Franz Tost has confirmed that Daniil Kvyat is no longer a part of Red Bull’s program, with Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly poised to race for the junior squad next year.
Kvyat was dropped from his Toro Rosso seat after Singapore to make way for GP2 champion Pierre Gasly, but returned after two races out in the United States Grand Prix last weekend.
Despite originally planning to field Gasly and Kvyat to the end of the season, the latter was shuffled out for Mexico following Porsche LMP1 driver Brendon Hartley’s surprise debut in Austin and confirmation for the remainder of the year.
Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference in Mexico, Tost confirmed that Kvyat was now free to explore racing options outside of the Red Bull program following his dismissal.
“He is not with Red Bull anymore, and definitely free to decide whatever he wants to do,” Tost said.
“He is not with Toro Rosso or Red Bull anymore.”
Tost also confirmed that Toro Rosso was closing in on confirming Gasly and Hartley as its full-time drivers for 2018, with the pair set to complete the season together.
“Both are Red Bull drivers, both are high skill drivers, fast drivers. I want to test them for the rest of the season,” Tost said.
“There’s a high possibility this will be the driver line-up for 2018.”
Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.
Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.
Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.
Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.
Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.
Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.
Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.
Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.