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Big crash will have little impact on Hartley's career - Marko

Brendon Hartley (NZL) Scuderia Toro Rosso on the grid.
© XPB 

Red Bull's motorsport consultant Dr Helmut Marko says that Brendon Hartley's big accident in last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix will have no affect on his career at Toro Rosso.

The Kiwi has been the centre of speculation that he is about to be dumped by Red Bull's junior team. Among the replacements linked to to the race seat recently are Lando Norris, Pascal Wehrlein and Robert Kubica.

Hartley insists that he's going nowhere and has a contract to see out the rest of the season. But his first lap exit from Sunday's race won't have helped his cause.

Hartley collided with the Williams of Lance Stroll going into turn 5 and suffered a huge crash against the barriers. He was later checked over in hospital before being released the same evening.

Toro Rosso team manger Graham Watson insisted that Hartley had their full backing, but admitted that the decision rested with Marko who is in charge of the Red Bull junior driver development programme.

Now Marko has spoken about the Montreal accident and said it would play no part in any discussions about Hartley's position.

"It was, I would say, a racing accident, and has nothing to do about his future," Marko told Autosport magazine. "He will be in the car."

But Marko added that there was a long line of drivers queuing up to take over the seat, should Hartley exit Faenza prematurely. He said there were "unbelievable stories going around".

Marko referred to "all the people who say they want to race for Toro Rosso, or they want to put an offer that we didn't know about."

McLaren CEO Zak Brown reportedly turned down an approach for their reserve driver Lando Norris because Toro Rosso wanted him to commit to staying beyond the end of 2018.

"We have got no interest in letting Lando go anywhere long term," Brown said. "Lando is a McLaren driver and we think he has a bright future here.

"But if an opportunity came elsewhere we would seriously consider it," he added. "We would like him to get experience somewhere."

Hartley has confirmed that he is fully fit and "ready for the next race" in France on June 24, meaning that Toro Rosso shouldn't have to go looking for a one-race stand-in.

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