Brendon Hartley has signed with Ferrari as one of the team’s four Formula 1 simulator drivers for the 2019 season.

Hartley drove for Toro Rosso in the final four races of 2017 before earning a full-time race seat with the Red Bull junior outfit last year, scoring four points in the 21-race season.

The Kiwi was dropped in favour on Formula 2 driver Alexander Albon however, the 29-year-old felt Red Bull had a “plan in motion” to replace him from the Monaco Grand Prix onwards.

Without a spot on this year’s grid, Hartley instead joins Ferrari to assist the Italian marque in the development of its 2019 car in the team’s simulator.

Ferrari’s simulator drivers for last season were Daniil Kvyat and Antonio Giovinazzi but the pair will compete in F1 for Toro Rosso and Sauber respectively this year, forcing the team to recruit a replacement.

Hartley is joined in the role by ex-Manor and Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who will juggle his commitments alongside his participation in Formula E.

Antonio Fuoco and Davide Rigon complete the four-man line-up; all will work with race drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc during the season.

Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto said: “Our team has taken on four undoubtedly talented drivers, who possess innate feeling, with a strong understanding of race cars and tracks.

“These are exactly the qualities required in the skilful role of driving in a simulator, one of the vital pieces of equipment in the Formula 1 of today”.