Mentor tips Hartley to accept Toro Rosso seat

Lucy Hill
October 15, 2017

"I feel ready for it, honestly".

The Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso Formula One team could be facing yet another driver change amid uncertainty about Pierre Gasly's availability for next week's U.S.

However, acquiring the Kiwi will require some ironing out by the Italian Formula 1 team - the 27-year-old is now contracted to Porsche in the World Endurance Championship - a competition he could win this weekend with a solid performance in Fuji.

You'll note that the other driver can't be Kvyat: he has already returned in the other auto, having replaced Carlos Sainz Jr, who went off to Renault as part of a new engine deal between Honda and the two teams.

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.

Hartley, the first New Zealander to earn an F1 drive since Mike Thackwell in 1984, added: "What an unbelievable feeling".

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

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Hartley was named a Red Bull junior in 2007 alongside a batch of drivers including Daniel Ricciardo.

Brendon Hartley is relishing the opportunity to make his surprise Formula 1 debut in the United States Grand Prix next weekend, hailing the preparation offered by Porsche's LMP1 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

"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".

Sebastien Buemi is considered the back-up driver if a deal with Hartley can't be done.

The 2015 WEC champion and reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans victor was confirmed to be racing at the Circuit of The Americas next weekend with Toro Rosso, seven years after being dropped from Red Bull's junior driver program, in place of Pierre Gasly, who is tied up with duties in Super Formula at Suzuka.

Hartley also ran with Mercedes in a young driver test at Magny Cours in 2012.

Brendon Hartley: "What an unbelievable feeling!" It's going to be a dream come true. "With all the racing experience accumulated over the years, we are convinced that he will do a fantastic job for us", he said.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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