It’s been a long time coming, but Hartley will make his F1 bow
Brendon Hartley, 27-year-old WEC champion, gets his Formula 1 break with Toro Rosso in Austin next weekend.
It’s rare that such an experienced hand who’d appeared to have missed the F1 boat gets such a chance – and it makes a nice post-script to his Red Bull-backed junior career when he was arguably dropped unfairly early.
Austin’s a pretty demanding place to be getting into F1 without a prior test, but on such opportunities can careers turn. He’ll be compared to team mate Daniil Kvyat, a 23-year-old F1 veteran of four years. When a teenage Hartley first came to Europe from his native New Zealand, Kvyat was a 12-year-old racing karts in Russia. Now Kvyat’s the old hand and Hartley the rookie!
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.”