Scuderia Toro Rosso have confirmed that New Zealander Brendon Hartley is to race for the Italian marque at the Circuit of the Americas next weekend.
The twenty-seven-year-old Kiwi last tested for the team back in 2009 when he was still a member of the Red Bull Junior Team.
Since his last outing with the team back in 2009, Hartley has gained experience in a variety of categories, including: Formula Renault 3.5, GP2 Series and various sports cars series’.
Currently racing for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship, the Kiwi was crowned champion in 2015 alongside team-mates Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard. In the June of this year he won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans with Earl Bamber and Bernhard.
With three rounds to go in this season’s campaign, with the 6 Hours of Fuji taking place this weekend, he current sits on top of the 2017 WEC standings.
“What an amazing feeling!” said Hartley. “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.”
Hartley has been drafted in to fill in for Pierre Gasly who will return to Super Formula in its finale round as he currently lies just 0.5 points off of the championship, with Gasly himself having been brought in to replace Daniil Kvyat, but the Russian is back after the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team activated Carlos Sainz Jr.‘s move ahead of schedule.
“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,” said Toro Rosso Team Principal, Franz Tost.
“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.”