Hartley to replace Gasly for Toro Rosso at US GP

Ross Houston
October 13, 2017

Not since Mike Thackwell in 1984 has a Kiwi driven on motorsport's biggest stage but that could change in the next fortnight with Le Mans 24 Hour victor Brendon Hartley looming as a serious contender for the vacant Toro Rosso seat at next week's US Grand Prix.

Hartley, this year's Le Mans 24 Hours victor and a world endurance champion, will add his name to a roll call of Kiwi Formula One drivers that now ends with Mike Thackwell in 1984.

"This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1".

He held the role of Red Bull's reserve driver from 2009-2010 and completed a test for Red Bull in 2008 as well as two for Toro Rosso in 2009 before being dropped from the programme.

Franz Tost, Toro Rosso team principal, said: "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".


The rookie, who is set to return for the last three rounds of the season after Austin, has said he would rather stay with Toro Rosso and the team indicated that would be the case when he arrived.

According to Autosport, Gasly will return to Super Formula next week to battle for the title with the Frenchman trailing Hiroaki Ishiura by half a point.

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

New Zealander Hartley was formerly a Red Bull junior and had previous testing experience with the team in 2009, but his recent career has nearly exclusively involved the World Endurance Championship (WEC), a title he won alongside Mark Webber in 2015.

"The Austin track is one I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently".


Gasly was brought in at the expense of Daniil Kvyat for the recent races in Malaysia and Japan.

"What an awesome feeling", said the 27-year-old. We are really happy to have him back in our team.

"I'm convinced he'll do a fantastic job for us".

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


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