Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Hartley gets nod for Austin from Toro Rosso

Hartley gets nod for Austin from Toro Rosso

Brendon Hartley will become New Zealand's first Formula One driver in 33 years at next week's U.S. Grand Prix after being called up by Toro Rosso on Friday as replacement for French rookie Pierre Gasly.

Autosport magazine is reporting that 27-year-old Hartley is the favourite to replace Gasly for the race at the Circuit of Americas track and is in the frame to get a full-time drive at the team next year.

He became world endurance champion in 2015 for Porsche driving alongside former F1 driver Mark Webber and German Timo Bernhard.

Hartley said: "This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1".

He held the role of Red Bull's reserve driver from 2009-2010 and completed a test for Red Bull in 2008 as well as two for Toro Rosso in 2009 before being dropped from the programme.

Hartley last tested for Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso in 2009 and has not driven an F1 vehicle since 2012.

He will join Daniil Kvyat in a revised line-up as Gasly returns to Japan to contest the Super Formula season finale. Hartley was formerly part of the Red Bull Junior Team and has enough Super License points to compete in Formula One; but he is also now contracted to Porsche in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and is purportedly in talks with Chip Ganassi for a 2018 IndyCar deal.

New Zealander Hartley was formerly a Red Bull junior and had previous testing experience with the team in 2009, but his recent career has nearly exclusively involved the World Endurance Championship (WEC), a title he won alongside Mark Webber in 2015.

"I want to say a huge thanks to Red Bull for making this a reality, and to Porsche for allowing me to do this alongside the World Endurance Championship".

"Eventually [after moving] I made some friends, like Brendon Hartley, who was racing in the same series that year so I could relate to him, he was from the same part of the world and a Red Bull driver at the time so he was someone I was trying to aspire to", Ricciardo said. We are really happy to have him back in our team.

The last New Zealander to race in Formula One was Mike Thackwell 33 years ago.

"I'm convinced he'll do a fantastic job for us".

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