Former Red Bull junior program driver, Brendon Hartley, is set to replace Pierre Gasly at Toro Rosso for the US Grand Prix in Austin next week. Gasly was replacing Daniil Kvyat but now Daniil is replacing a departing Carlos Sainz who is replacing Jolyon PAlmer at Renault. Get all that?
The music has stopped and while I felt Sebastien Buemi might be the favorite for the task, it seems that Hartley was more available or more compelling as a replacement in the end.
“What an amazing feeling! This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1. I have grown and learnt so much since the days when I was the Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver, and the tough years I went through made me stronger and even more determined. 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. COTA is a track I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently. I’m trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it.”
“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. Brendon is coming as the reigning 24h Le Mans winner and he’s also leading the current FIA LMP1 World Endurance Championship, which he won in 2015 as well. We are really happy to have him back in our team. With all the racing experience accumulated over the years, we are convinced that he will do a fantastic job for us.”
Brendon was dropped out of the Red Bull junior program back in 2010 and has been forging a successful WEC career with Porsche so there’s no worry that the 27-year-old is rusty at driving having won the 24Hours of Le Mans.
Still, I think it will be a challenge to get on top of these new cars and new power units but his Porsche had a hybrid as well so he may find the learning curve much shorter than other drivers.
“It’s been a pretty crazy week. It happened quite quickly.
“For the moment I’m genuinely trying just to think about this weekend and as soon as this weekend is over full focus goes onto a big and new challenge next week.
“I’ve got a lot to learn in one week but I feel ready for it, honestly.
“This programme’s taught me a lot, working guys like Mark [Webber], Timo [Bernhard], Earl [Bamber], it’s such a good project where we’re at the forefront of technology and part of development.
“I’ve grown a lot as driver. It’s going to be a busy week but I’m looking forward to it.”
I hope he does well. I always liked Brendon and felt he got a raw deal in the junior program. Who knows? If he does really, really well…he may make a compelling case for a few more races or get the attention of other teams. Doubtful but you never know.
Hat Tip: Autosport