Brendon Hartley has revealed that moves to replace him at his former Formula One team were visible early in his first full season last year.
The Kiwi driver was replaced after a tough 2018 by British-born Thai Alexander Albon but says the decision was already being looked at in Monaco - the sixth round of the 21-race championship - last May.
"What I will remember most about it is walking down to the paddock to meet with the media on the Wednesday before the weekend started, and receiving a bunch of questions about my future," he wrote on the Player's Tribune.
"Here I am, a handful of races into my F1 career, and I’m being asked about the end.
"The worst part of that day, though, was finding out there was some truth to the rumours. After a few races, there were some people, it appeared, who didn't want me there. I'll be honest, this was a bit of a shock."
Hartley said he wasn't hoping for sympathy by sharing his recounts of the season but rather give an insight into how his exit came about and the "looking-over-my-shoulder feeling" that stayed with him all year.
"That’s life in F1, though. The sport has so much money and so many people involved, it’s only natural that there are politics. If you’re a fan you know it, and if you’re a driver, you live it."
Throughout the season, media reported Toro Rosso were looking to bring across McLaren reserve and Formula Two Lando Norris but they eventually settled on Albon.
Hartley finished 19th out of 20 drivers in the 2018 championship with just four points to his name.
Knowing the end was nigh, Hartley said he was called into a meeting after the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
"An hour [after the race], I was summoned to a meeting. A few minutes after that, I was no longer an F1 driver.
"In the meeting there wasn’t much said. It was clear to me then that from as far back as Monaco there was a plan in motion to move me on."
Hartley hasn't revealed what 2019 has in store for him but says there are multiple options available.