Red Bull confirms Pierre Gasly will replace Daniel Ricciardo in 2019

Hockenheim hot lap with Lando Norris (2:20)

ESPN's Laurence Edmondson takes a hot lap with McLaren test and reserve driver Lando Norris around the Hockenheim circuit. (2:20)

Red Bull has confirmed Pierre Gasly will make the step up from Toro Rosso to replace Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo in 2019.

A move which seemed highly unlikely four weeks ago has occurred following Ricciardo's shock decision to leave Red Bull at the end of the current season, announced at the start of F1's August summer break. That was followed by McLaren announcing the signing of Carlos Sainz -- currently on loan from Red Bull at Renault -- last week, opening the door for the Austrian company to promote its other junior driver to the senior team.

Gasly, who made his debut last year and is enjoying a strong first full campaign in F1, will partner Max Verstappen next season. Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the move is just reward for the French driver's impressive performances at Toro Rosso this season.

"Since Pierre first stepped into a Formula One seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso less than a year ago he has proved the undoubted talent that Red Bull has nurtured since his early career," Horner said. "His stellar performances this year at the Honda-powered team, in only his first full season in Formula One, have only enhanced his reputation as one of the most exciting young drivers in motorsport and we look forward to Pierre bringing his speed, skill and attitude to the team in 2019.

"While our immediate focus remains fully on achieving our best result in the 2018 World Championship, we look forward to competing in 2019 with Max and Pierre at the wheel of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing."

Gasly said: "To be awarded a drive at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing from 2019 is a dream come true for me, I'm so excited to be joining this top team. It has been my goal to race for this team since I joined the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme in 2013, and this incredible opportunity is another step forward in my ambition to win Grands Prix and compete for World Championships.

"Red Bull has always looked to fight for championships or victories and that's what I want. I'm a really competitive guy and when I do something it's always to fight for the best and top positions.

"As hugely exciting a moment as this is, I am fully aware of the challenge this special opportunity offers me and the expectations that faces any driver at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. I'm looking forward to rewarding the faith that Dietrich Mateschitz, Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko have placed in me.

"The first phase of that is to keep pushing for ultimate performance and the best results in 2018 that I can achieve for my team, Scuderia Toro Rosso. I wish to thank Franz Tost and everyone at Toro Rosso and the factory in Faenza for giving me the golden opportunity of a drive in Formula One and their amazing commitment and support, which I know will continue for the rest of this season. My focus now is to do everything I can to give them a season to celebrate."

Toro Rosso has an unconfirmed driver line-up for 2019. Gasly's teammate Brendon Hartley is out of contract at the end of the current season and has struggled for form so far this year. The team has been linked with Lando Norris and Stoffel Vandoorne in recent weeks.