In an unsurprising announcement early today, Toro Rosso have confirmed current incumbent pairing Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will form their 2018 Formula One driving strength. Newly crowned double World Endurance Champion Hartley will make his full time Formula One debut next season, some eight years after being unceremoniously dropped from the Red Bull junior driver programme, capping a remarkable comeback for the talented New Zealander whos top level open wheel career appeared to be over before it really began after his Red Bull association came to an early end. Hartley had since gone on to make a name for himself in long distance endurance racing with the works Porsche prototype outfit, an arrangement that looks to draw to a close this weekend in Bahrain when the famous German marque step away from the World Endurance series and their hugely successful LMP1 programme. With options apparently limited for the 28-year-old Kiwi, a career in the United States driving in IndyCar beckoned for Hartley before his surprise call up to Toro Rosso ahead of the Austin round of the World Championship, a seat that the driver would continue to hold for the remainder of the year as he looks to re-establish his open wheel credentials following a prolonged period racing in closed cockpit machines. Understandably Hartley was delighted to confirm his plans for 2018, bucking the recent trend in Formula One of teenage rookies the likes of fellow Toro Rosso graduate Max Verstappen and Williams teenager Lance Stroll: "Really amazing to be confirmed as a Formula 1 driver for next year with Toro Rosso" said Hartley. "It's very satisfying to have converted an opportunity that came as a surprise into a 2018 F1 drive, I couldn't be happier! I'd like to thank Red Bull and Toro Rosso for believing in me and giving me this second chance – dreams can come true. I'm now going to carry on working harder than ever in order to finish this busy end of season on a high and start the new year as strong as possible... Bring it!" Alongside the double WEC champion and former Le Mans 24 Hour winner will be another full season rookie and current Toro Rosso "super sub" - Pierre Gasly will line up for the Italian outfit in 2018 as he looks to make the next step up in what has been an impressive career in the junior formula, ending in a near miss championship challenge this season in the Japanese Super Formula series to go alongside his 2016 GP2 title and runners up Formula Renault 3.5 series result from 2014. Gasly has already made an impression in Formula One during his four race stint in the distinctive Toro Rosso car, often showing pace that belies his lack of experience, even if the results achieved so far don't necessary translate into the raw pace displayed by the young 21-year-old Frenchman. "I'm super happy to race for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2018, for my first proper season in Formula 1" said Gasly at the announcement of the new deal. "I would like to thank all the people involved, who helped me get here: Red Bull, Toro Rosso, my family and all the ones who have supported me in the lower series. I'm really excited and super motivated to give it my all in Abu Dhabi and the whole of next year! I just can't wait!" With the team locked into a fierce battle for seventh in the constructors standings heading into the final round of the season at Abu Dhabi it will be interesting to see if this early announcement has a positive effect on the drivers performances, especially considering the considerable financial incentive on offer for a higher ranking and with the small Italian team taking a risk on works Honda engines in 2018. If the engine and technical package are yet to be proven ahead of the new year, one thing is for sure, and that is Toro Rosso have one of the strongest driving line ups of its history in Formula One heading into 2018. Check out the Formula One sub forum here at RaceDepartment for more news from the premier open wheel series in the world. Like what you see here at RaceDepartment? Don't forget to like, subscribe and follow us on social media! RaceDepartment YouTube RaceDepartment Twitter RaceDepartment Facebook RaceDepartment Twitch RaceDepartment Instagram Do you think Toro Rosso have made the right driver choice for next year? Can Gasly and Hartley deliver in 2018? Does Hartley deserve another crack at Grand Prix racing? Let us know in the comments section below!