Brendon Hartley has returned to the GP2 Series for this weekend's races at Spa-Francorchamps, replacing Kevin Mircoha at Ocean Racing Technology.
New Zealander Hartley, who usually races in Formula Renault 3.5, made his debut in the series at the penultimate round of the last season, driving for Coloni at Monza and Abu Dhabi. This year he joins Portuguese squad Ocean, whom he tested for at Abu Dhabi last November.
“I am very enthusiastic and happy about the chance I have been given,” said Hartley. “Last year I took part in two meetings of the championship but I think that the main difference is in the tyres. The team is very professional and I know I can count on the engineers to help me best handle this adaptation. I know the Spa track well and my objective is to be competitive there.”
German racer Mirocha was the youngest driver in the GP2 field this year and scored a best result of eighth on two occasions, in the sprint races at Valencia and Hungary.
Team principals Tiago Monteiro and Jose Guedes said in a statement: “We opted for the best solution. Brendon already knows our team because he drove with us last winter. He is an experienced driver, he’s fast, and he is very mature thanks to his experience in F1. We had other alternatives but we have been following Brendon’s career very closely and we wanted to give him this opportunity.”
Hartley is managed by Gravity Sport Management, who said: “We would like to thank Ocean, and especially Tiago Monteiro and Jose Guedes, for this invitation. We have confidence in Brendon to be able to convert this opportunity into good performance, and that he will seize the chance to show what he is capable of, and also that he deserves a place at the highest level.”
Hartley joins Johnny Cecotto at the team. The Venezuelan is optimisitic ahead of the weekend.
“It is an extraordinary circuit that I always adapt well to,” he said. “I especially love its fast corners. We were not lucky in the last few races but I really think that the conditions have come together so that we can fight for a spot on the podium.”