|Brendon Hartley axed and will be replaced by a ride-buyer|
(GMM) Brendon Hartley has reportedly been told that he will not be driving for Toro Rosso in 2019.
Officials of team owner Red Bull have been warning the New Zealander for some time that he needed better performance and results to secure his place.
Hartley, though, thinks he has been upping his game.
"I feel like I have gotten stronger through the season," he said.
"I showed it in Austin even if the press release said there was something wrong with the other car."
He is referring to the official line about Red Bull Racing-bound Pierre Gasly's car, but when pressed for more information, Hartley told reporters: "No comment."
Gasly thinks Hartley's comments reveal he is under "a lot of pressure", but that may have been relieved on Sunday morning ahead of the Mexican grand prix.
According to Bild newspaper, Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko and Christian Horner delayed a media session because they had sat down for a serious conversation with Hartley.
It is believed Red Bull will replace Toro Rosso's Hartley with British-Thai driver Alexander Albon for 2019.
When asked about the conversation he had with Hartley on Sunday morning, Marko said: "The good thing about racing drivers is that as soon as they get into the car and lower their visor, all conversations are forgotten."