Hartley ready for USGP in Austin

11

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.

Brendon Hartley
“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.”

Franz Tost
“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

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Paul KieferJr

So, this could eventually become the “Gasly & Brantley Show”.

jakobusvdl

This is fantastic news for Brendon Hartley, after 8 years he must have been starting to think Red Bull weren’t going to call back. I guess that his years of experience with the Hybrid p.u’s in the WEC Porsche will make adapting to the Hybrid F1 less of a challenge, and with recent experience of COTA, he’s looking like an inspired choice for the seat. It even made the radio news in NZ, it must be a quiet weekend for Rugby. He will be only the 9th New Zealander to drive in F1. I have my fingers crossed that its… Read more »

Dr T

So you think he’ll go the same way as McLaren and end up building his own car and team?

jakobusvdl

https://m.facebook.com/HartleyEngines
Check out the family business in Palmerston North, the background is right!

Salvu Borg

“5 ago, I too felt it was fantastic” but now just in came the news that on his first chance he will start from the back of the grid.

jakobusvdl

This might be a bonus, if he qualifies reasonably, and picks up some places in the race, he could come out of this very well indeed. And a win from the back of the grid, brilliant ;-)

MIE

If he does well and Toro Rosso don’t want him, he is the right age for the Williams seat alongside Stroll.

p1ngu

That thought had occurred to me as well. I’m sure he could be a good answer to the various Williams issues – highly credible WDC & will be quicker than anyone they’re currently looking at already, understands and has mastered hybrid technology, is over 25 for Martini purposes, is reputedly great with sponsors and (it shouldn’t matter but it does) good-looking to boot.

Oh, and he’ll be pretty cheap, even if only for the first year

Tom Firth

It’s great news for Brendon Hartley. It’s a bit awkward for Red Bull given they dropped him before but his career has been on a positive trajectory since the initial F1 dream ended. The outings with Murphy Prototypes and Starworks Motorsport allowed him to be noticed by Porsche and his success in the LMP1 Porsche 919 has been fantastic. He’s become a stronger driver since Red Bull passed on him a few years ago, certainly and is very deserving of this opportunity. It appears his future lays in single seaters again, even if it isn’t with Toro Rosso or another… Read more »

MIE

It may also renew driver interest in LMP1 as a viable route to F1, but only if there are seats available….

Tom Firth

If it becomes a full time or certainly a longer term deal, then perhaps. Otherwise it is likely to have no more an effect than Lotterers Caterham drive did.

The other issue is with the manufacturer exodus of LMP1.