With the way the current Formula 1 season has progressed so far, one is almost certain to see a host of changes to the drivers' lineup for the following season. Quite a few teams are reeling from shock exits, while others are looking to replace their current crop to stay more competitive in the next year.
One of those teams that faced a shock exit is Red Bull, whose number one driver signed a contract with Renault for the 2019 Formula 1 championship. This sudden move of Daniel Ricciardo ensured that Pierre Gasly would be promoted to Red Bull from Toro Rosso, who will feature in the 2019 championship alongside Max Verstappen.
Gasly's promotion opened up a place at Toro Rosso, and the team is exploring all avenues to fill that place. Furthermore, Brendon Hartley's performances have been sub-par, which again is a source of concern for the team, and could force them to start the 2019 season with two new faces.
There are reports suggesting former Formula 1 drivers along with a couple of youngsters, and in this article, let us look closer at the five drivers that could be signed by Toro Rosso for the 2019 Formula 1 season.
#5 Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica is the most-experienced Formula 1 driver on this list. The Pole made his F1 debut in 2006 and made a name for himself while driving for BMW-Sauber. The 2008 season was the most memorable season for Kubica as he managed to finish that season in the fourth place, securing 75 points. Before parting ways with Formula 1, Kubica also had a successful season in 2010 with Renault, that saw him capture three podiums in the process.
Since then, Robert Kubica participated a host of WRC championships and is currently a reserve driver for the Williams team, after losing out the final berth to Sergey Sirotkin before the start of the 2018 season.
This move could likely take place if the Red Bull management decides to replace Brendon Hartley at the end of the 2018 Formula 1 season.
#4 Jean-Eric Vergne
Jean-Eric Vergne made his Formula 1 debut in 2012 with Toro Rosso. The Frenchman spent three years driving for Red Bull's junior team, finishing 17th, 15th and 13th in the drivers' championship respectively.
Since moving away from Formula 1 at the end of the 2014 season, Vergne plied his trade in numerous racing championships. The 28-year-old French driver found the most success in the 2017/18 Formula E championship, where he was crowned the champion in the penultimate race of the season. Following this victory, there have been multiple reports suggesting his impending return to Formula 1 with Toro Rosso - the team he was a part of during his first stint in Formula 1.
#3 Stoffel Vandoorne
Stoffel Vandoorne secured his McLaren seat in 2017 after the departure of Jenson Button. In his two years with the team, the Belgian driver failed to score consistent results for McLaren. His first season saw him finish the championship in the 16th place; his current season sees no improvement and has struggled so far.
McLaren announced that the Belgian would be parting ways with the team at the end of the 2018 season, and has also made a statement suggesting Toro Rosso sign the Belgian driver for the 2019 season.
The team could do it as Vandoorne has got the skills to excel in this sport, which is backed by his GP2 Championship title. A change of teams could turn the fortunes of the Belgian for the better, and might even become one of the more consistent drivers on the grid.
#2 Alexander Albon
Alexander Albon is a 22-year-old British Thai racing driver who is competing in the Formula 2 Championship, driving for DAMS team. Albon featured in many championships before moving to GP3 in 2016. The Thai driver finished that year's championship in the second place, which opened doors for Formula 2.
Alexander Albon secured two podiums in his first Formula 2 season in 2017. However, his fortunes changed the very next season, with him winning three races so far. Albon is currently third in the drivers' championship, behind George Russell and McLaren bound Lando Norris.
If the Thai driver manages to continue his stellar form throughout the backend of the Formula 2 season, he could well see himself in Toro Rosso for the 2019 Formula 1 Championship.
#1 Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Kvyat is a strong favorite to come back and race for Toro Rosso in the 2019 Formula 1 season. There has also been news of an announcement at Sochi the coming weeks, which all point to the signing of the 24-year-old Russian driver.
Kvyat had earlier driven for Toro Rosso and the Red Bull in Formula 1. His impressive 2013 and 2014 F1 seasons for Toro Rosso, coupled with the departure of Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull, earned him a seat alongside Daniel Ricciardo for the 2015 season. The Russian secured two podiums during his stint with Red Bull before moving back to Toro Rosso in 2016. Kvyat's 2017 season was a disappointment that saw him secure only 5 points to finish the drivers' championship in the 19th place.
Currently, the Russian is under contract with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver, after failing to secure a seat in Formula 1.