Honda Formula 1 chiefs Toyoharu Tanabe and Masahasi Yamamoto have paid tribute to Brendon Hartley after his exit from Toro Rosso was confirmed.

Toro Rosso announced on Monday that Alexander Albon would be racing for the team in 2019 alongside Daniil Kvyat, leaving Hartley without a drive.

Two-time WEC champion and 2017 Le Mans winner Hartley made his F1 debut with Toro Rosso at last year’s United States Grand Prix, and raced throughout Honda’s first year as the Red Bull B-team’s engine supplier.

“On behalf of Honda, I would like to express my thanks to Brendon for all his hard work this year,” Honda motorsports boss Yamamoto said.

“Brendon is always a friendly and charming person who immediately embraced Japanese culture and Honda’s way. It gave everyone at Honda so much power and confidence in what we were doing this year after several difficult seasons.

“I particularly remember when he qualified sixth at our home race in Suzuka. That meant a lot to Honda.

“We will miss him and wish him all the best for the future.”

Honda F1 technical director Tanabe added: “Everyone at Honda enjoyed working with Brendon throughout the year.

“He was very strong on the engineering side, always giving very precise and useful feedback, based on his great experienced working with hybrid power units and as a double world champion and Le Mans winner in LMP1.

“That feedback accelerated our development in terms of setup work, which helped us progress over the course of the year.

“Thank you Brendon, and we wish you all the very best for the future.”

Hartley is yet to comment on his exit from Toro Rosso.

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