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undergroundnewsroom.com November 21, 2017


Hartley Ready for Surprise F1 Debut, Hails LMP1 Preparation

15 October 2017, 01:24 | Gordon Grant

Toro Rosso keep F1 guessing ahead of US Grand Prix

Brendon Hartley poised for Formula 1 debut

New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley has reportedly emerged as a front-runner to drive for a Formula 1 team in the United States Grand Prix before accepting a full-contract for next season.

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

Toro Rosso team Principal Franz Tost reportedly wants to use next the race as a chance to evaluate a new driver to add to next year's roster and while Gasly remains a favourite to retain one of the team's cars, the other is now up in the air.

Because Kvyat was put on hiatus by Toro Rosso because of his poor on-track performances, you'd imagine he doesn't have much leverage: but teams are contractually obliged to run two drivers and no more than four per season.

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

"I feel ready for it, honestly".

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We also reported that the list of potential one-off replacements for Gasly was vast, featuring Robert Kubica, Sergey Sirotkin, Sebastien Buemi and even Takuma Sato and Indycar champion Josef Newgarden.

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 was not content with sticking around the F1 paddock as a reserve driver and began racing in endurance events in 2012 - the same year he joined Mercedes as a test driver.

"Brendon is coming as the reigning 24h Le Mans victor and he's also leading the current FIA LMP1 World Endurance Championship, which he won in 2015 as well", said Tost.

"He'd have to go to formula one because that has been his main aim from his early days, and what he has been aiming for", Smith said. It's going to be a dream come true.

He subsequently became a top LMP1 sports auto driver for the works Porsche team, and was a teammate of Mark Webber's as he won the 2015 world endurance championship. "The fact that Formula 1 can look into this championship and say, "We need to choose a driver from here", I think that [shows] the level of drivers and level of teams and these programs", Bamber said.



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