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UPDATED: WEC leader Brendon Hartley to contest US F1 GP for Toro Rosso
Posted By: Editor   |  12 Oct 2017   |  12:15 pm GMT  |  279 comments

Brendon Hartley will drive for Toro Rosso for the US Formula 1 Grand Prix as Pierre Gasly contests the Japanese Super Formula final. Toro Rosso previously announced that Gasly would partner Daniil Kvyat for the race at Austin, as Gasly drove for Toro Rosso in Malaysia and Japan this season in place of Kvyat.

27-year-old New Zealander Hartley, who took the 2015 World Endurance Championship title with Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard, will partner Kvyat for the race at Austin now that Carlos Sainz Jr has joined Renault to begin his tenure with the works team early.

The leader of the 2017 WEC, Hartley won the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours and has raced for Porsche in the LMP1 category since 2014. He tested for Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Mercedes on three different occasions and four days, from 2008 to 2012. His test for Toro Rosso took place in 2009 – this will be Hartley’s debut F1 GP.

“This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1,” said Hartley in Toro Rosso’s announcement, issued on Friday.

“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.”

Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost added: “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.

“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.”

Gasly sits second in the Super Formula Series, half a point away from leader Hiroaki Ishiura, having taken two wins and three podiums for the Honda-backed Team Mugen.

Red Bull boss Helmut Marko said to Auto Motor und Sport that Toro Rosso’s statement announcing Kvyat and Gasly’s partnership for the US GP was a “mistake,” as Honda, who will supply Toro Rosso with engines next season, wants Gasly to drive in the SF final at Suzuka.

The 21-year-old still looks likely to take the Toro Rosso seat for the remaining races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi as boss Franz Tost weighs up his full-time driver options for 2018.

Is Hartley the right appointment for Toro Rosso’s US GP entry? Have your say in the comment section below.

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Hopefully he can out-race Kvyat and get a full time drive for next year!
Great to see a kiwi on the grid again after so very long…


Only Dutchies ‘bleed orange’!!!!!


McLaren orange my friend!


See a bleeding specialist if you are pumping 🍊


Kiwi verses The Aussie adds a bit of spice 🖒


Kvyat is a Russki…last time i looked!


Great news! Good luck Hartley.


What’s Daniil Kvyat doing at Toro Roso? First, he was fired by Red Bull, and then replaced by Gasly who abandons the team to race somewhere else. Even Carlos Sainz Jr leaves the team for a better team. Why is Kvyat still there? Where’s his pride?


paraphrasing Tina, what pride has to do with it?

Being me a race driver, and if I were in F1 (any team), I would consider that better than anywhere else, even if he is not in the best moment of his career right now, its better to stay in F1 than NOT….

besides, he is in kind of Massa’s situation, there are not other teams looking for his services, and by staying in TR he still has a chance to get in good shape again and maybe get a better seat for 2019…. its a better chance than being somewhere else.

Kvyat is not the best driver on the grid, but for sure not the worst, I think he can still develop in a better way, so if were me, I would stay, f#$k pride.


Great to see giving new drivers ago in series.I will really like to see f1 allowed teams to run 3 cars per team 30 car fields?imaign we will see 3 merc/ferrari/red bull cars and drivers in those teams eg Merc Hamilton/max/bottos Ferrari Vettle/Alsona/upcoming gun Redbull Richado/Saniz/upcoming gun Allowed teams to have 3 cars and then we see some exciting racing


And miss being introduced by Michael Buffer!!. Or maybe that’s why he chose to miss the GP??
Anybody else read the “Buffer” story?


Gasly does not have “two wins AND three podiums” in Super Formula. He does have three podiums, but this includes the two wins.


Very good choice! Part of me would have liked to see an Indycar driver get the chance given it’s in USA, but a WEC champion who has won at Le Mans is a good choice!

Last time I saw Hartley was at Silverstone a year or so ago he was flying through the air though hehe, hope this goes better for him…!




Yes a very underrated driver and the only one with a super license that has driven high output turbo hybrid cars with ground effect. Amazed at some of the responses seemingly unaware of his credentials.


Woah, Brendon Hartley! A Red Bull Young Driver contemporary of Daniel Ricciardo, who was then dropped by Red Bull, now recalled. A kick in the face for Buemi? Feel a bit sorry for him.

Happy for Hartley, though. He has done well in WEC, so arguably he deserves his chance. There is an irony to this from a personal perspective. Earlier this year I wrote a blog about the prominence of New Zealand drivers in the Supercars Championship (Van Gisbergen reigning champion, Coulthard & McLoughlin battling for title). I pointed that this made the chance of a first New Zealand F1 racer since Mike Thackwell in the 1980s (I think he was the last one!) less likely than ever, because Kiwis would feel more inclined to go down the touring car route.

Here we are, less than six months later, with a New Zealander scheduled to make his F1 debut! Okay, a freak set of events have led to it happening but they all count!

(Anyone interested in my blog can, if it is allowed, read it under the relevant sub-heading at http://thoughtsonsport1.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/what-other-coulthard-tells-us-about-new.html. Supercars fans will quickly be able to tell that I’m not a fanatic about the series, not being based in Oceania, and did a lot of research for the article! I have tried to follow this season as much as possible, that said!).


Thanks for your excellent blog piece – as an Englishman by birth, Scot by education and New Zealander by choice, I really enjoyed it.

One element you may have overlooked in the development of NZ racing drivers is the Toyota Racing Series, an international (southern hemisphere) summer series which is a successful training ground for international as well as NZ drivers. With two of its graduates now in Formula One (Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat), another in Formula E (Mitch Evans), rising stars like Lando Norris among its winners and TRS graduates at the front of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the role of the Toyota Racing Series in honing the skills and race craft of young drivers is indisputable. Worth reading more about. Personally, I groan when NZ single seater drivers go off into V8 Supercars because I can’t get excited about Ford vs Holden, but that’s just me.

One other small point – I believe Mike Thackwell now lives in West Sussex, not Cornwall.


Thank you for taking the time to read it Simon, and thanks for your kind words and useful feedback. I am aware of the Toyota Racing Series but must admit I don’t know a lot about it and was surprised that it goes back to Daniil Kvyat in terms of modern successes (I thought it was more the last 2-3 seasons). Definitely one for me to read more about.

I think it’s good that the best youngsters in the world are looking East (and South) to bolster their skills during the (Northern Hemisphere) winter in the Toyota Racing Series. As a Briton of Indian descent I note that they are starting to do similar with the MRF Challenge (Harrison Newey and Mick Schumacher among the Europeans last winter). And it should provide benefits to NZ single-seater talent too, in terms of exposure to that competition and the plaudits received by beating them. There’s still a risk that the challenges to get to F1 are considerable, and the current success of NZ drivers in Supercars will prove attractive, but if TRS helps tilts the balance back towards single-seaters for New Zealand’s hopefuls then I’m happy to be proved wrong!

P.S. The article referred to “the south of England” so you might be right about West Sussex but it’s a bit ambiguous! I think the description of the roads reminded me of a family holiday to Cornwall so that was maybe my assumption!


@ Simon Lord…… Mitch Evans was a protege of Mark Webber but for some strange reason they seem to have parted ways? No it’s not just you when it comes to Supercars. I used to be a fanatic supporter but have now totally lost interest. To much of the same old same old. Boring cars and boring drivers. The 12 hr Bathurst race is far better. Great cars and a smattering of top European drivers as well.


It’s interesting that “Tost weighs up drivers for next year……” Doesn’t Dr. Marko pick the drivers? I was under the impression that Tost just does what he is told as far as driver selection. (see Max to Redbull, etc.)


@Tyler N…Marko is the kingmaker but Tost sometimes ventures to voice an opinion. The same goes for Horner who, although he claims to report directly to DM ,usually defers to Marko and his dubious decisions. Important to note comments made over the last couple of days. It’s almost as if Ricciardo doesn’t exist any longer!!! It’s all about Verstappen down to the promise of building the entire team around him. This is identical to what Marko said when Webber voiced an opinion as to how the cars were being prepared. He said the team was being built around Vettel and Webber would have to just suck it up. Nice eh?


Great decision Frantz! Brendon is one hell of a driver and will deliver. Look what he has achieved in WEC.


Regardless of whether or not the guys the correct choice (I think he is).
What it does demonstrate is the limited driver resource that red bull has to draw on and explains their signing of 4 young pups.
It also helps with some cross category advertising as did the Alonso foray into ovals.
Good luck to the lad.


Good for Hartley. He seems to be a quality racing driver who just never could put together the pieces to crack F1. It’s a nice piece to add to the resume.


This embarrassing cock-up is the first significant public act of the Honda-Toro Rosso-Red Bull Racing partnership. I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the first sign of a bad relationship.


I’m so looking forward to the banner changing from the Japanese GP banner. That dude on the right with glasses…he’s a bit tense. Let’s have some girls in cowboy hats please!


Luca Badoer? Wipe of the cobwebs before Vetel is suspended and Ferrari put him in their car.


jolyon palmer


Kubica is the best option to substitute Gasli at Torro Rosso!🏎🚥🏁🇺🇸


Sean Gelael, I watched him drive in the wet in Malaysia. To drive an F1 in the wet could not be easy.


Squeeze Johnny Herbert in the car, it would stop his inane ramblings on the telly for the weekend…

Crofty could hold the umbrella for him on the grid, keep him busy as well, may get some decent neutral F1 commentary then 😉


@ Clarks…What a great idea, but the ever expanding waistline would preclude him even being considered.


Here’s my opinion:
Bring back Marcus Winkelhock!
He’s a touring car demigod!


Surely it has to be Buemi, as Matsushita has no super-licence?
They will obviously want to keep it within the Red Bull clan, and Buemi is the fourth member of the team, after Gasly who was the reserve driver for both RB and TR.


Josef Newgarden, recent changes to the super licence qualifications make him eligible due to winning IndyCar, he’s American and well known over there, and has some links to Honda.


The lack of current Honda links is what likely rules him out. HIs first 3 years in Indycar were with Honda power, but his last 3 have been all Chevy. He’s with the premier Indycar team now too, so I’m not sure they would let him race. Would be a perfect fit otherwise!


Stick in Webber or DC in! Get them to provide commentary as they drive

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