Hartley Ready for Surprise F1 Debut, Hails LMP1 Preparation

Hartley Ready for Surprise F1 Debut, Hails LMP1 Preparation

Hartley Ready for Surprise F1 Debut, Hails LMP1 Preparation

As predicted by Autosport, Hartley was announced on Friday as a replacement for Toro Rosso's Super Formula title-contending driver Pierre Gasly for the next F1 race at Austin next weekend.

Speaking to ESPN during winter testing this season, Ricciardo said he rated Hartley as one of his toughest opponents in the early days of his Red Bull career and even credits the Kiwi as one of the reasons he was able to overcome homesickness after his initial move to Europe from Australia.

As a former F1 test driver for STR, parent team Red Bull, and Mercedes, Hartley chased the grand prix dream through 2013, but turned his attention to global sports auto racing once it became apparent transitioning to a full-time ride was not in the cards.

The 27-year-old and Porsche factory driver is no stranger to F1, having been Red Bull's reserve driver in 2009 and 2010 before he was dropped from the company's driver development program.

But there were actually two open seats at Toro Rosso for next weekend's race since Pierre Gasly has prior commitments in the Japanese Super Formula series.

New Zealand's Brendon Hartley reacts in the pit.

Hartley will partner Kvyat in the U.S., with the latter having regained a Toro Rosso seat due to Carlos Sainz's move to Renault being brought forward. This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1.

Last week he won the IMSA SportsCar Championship-closing Petit Le Mans race in an Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier-based Nissan Onroak Daytona Prototype global.

"The Austin track is one I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently".

Hartley becomes New Zealand's first Formula One driver since Mike Thackwell in 1984.

Hartley had to make do with a role as Red Bull reserve driver in 2009, a job he shared with Ricciardo, as he struggled for form in Formula Renault 3.5.

He can win a second World Endurance Championship with the factory Porsche team if results go his way this weekend in Japan.

Teammate and compatriot Earl Bamber is pleased to see the WEC be represented on such a global platform as F1, believing Toro Rosso's decision to draft in Hartley proves the quality of drivers in the endurance series.

"I feel ready for it, honestly".

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