Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Hartley to race F1 for Toro Rosso

Hartley, 27, said it was an fantastic feeling to be contemplating a debut at last and felt ready for it at a track he already knows from world endurance.

New Zealander Brendon Hartley is to make his Formula 1 debut for Toro Rosso at next weekend's US Grand Prix.

When Hartley was dropped from the Red Bull junior driver programme in mid-2010, he left F1 and turned instead to sportscar racing. "I'm trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it".

Earlier this week, Toro Rosso confirmed that they had handed a recall to Dany Kvyat to replace Carlos Sainz after the Spaniard moved to Renault with immediate effect.

He becomes the first New Zealander since Mike Thackwell in 1984 to compete in motorsport's premier category and just the ninth overall.

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

After a loss of backing, Hartley had sporadic appearances in GP2 and another frustrating season in Formula Renault 3.5 before an appearance with Mercedes at the 2012 young driver test at Paul Ricard.

However, his F1 opportunity appeared to have passed him by, with his focus switching fully to sports cars in 2014 when he signed up for a season with Porsche alongside former Red Bull driver Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard.

We also reported that the list of potential one-off replacements for Gasly was vast, featuring Robert Kubica, Sergey Sirotkin, Sebastien Buemi and even Takuma Sato and Indycar champion Josef Newgarden.

He has also been linked to IndyCars, where he would drive alongside Scott Dixon at Chip Ganassi Racing.

"He is one of those who is so competitive in everything he did, he wanted to be a victor - and that is what has given him the drive to keep on going". However, the rumor goes that Kvyat threatened to quit Formula One and Toro Rosso should he not get his seat back. It is a dream come true for a Kiwi to do what he is doing.

"Scuderia Toro Rosso is very pleased to announce that Brendon Hartley, who has been part of the Red Bull family for a long time in different classes, as well as the test and reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, will now be back racing for us in Austin", team principal Franz Tost said.

"He is a wonderful kid and It has been so good to associated with him over the years".

"Brendon is coming as the reigning 24 Hour Le Mans victor and he's also leading the current FIA LMP1 World Endurance Championship, which he won in 2015 as well".

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