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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 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


Nigel Mansell

Hyper Chicane Teknique

As a proud American F1 fan, would’ve LOVED to see Alexander Rossi back in an F1 seat, but I understand he’s busy shooting a reality show in Europe. I’d give JEV a chance or even let Williams pay me to put Kubica behind the wheel to confirm he has the stamina to last a full race before seriously considering him for a drive next season.


I see the name Brendon Hartley popping up everywhere (autosport for one).
I’m not sure what’s going on at TR…


What a mess. Didn’t expect this to happen in a highly regulated top of the cream Motorsport.


Let Kyvat have both cars: he’ll probably crash one 😀


Surprising that no-one has mentioned Di Resta given the stand out supersub job he did replacing the unwell Massa in Hungary.


He’s a better commentator than he was ever a driver.


Amen to that.


So is mark webber


Nine GP wins to his name, including the Monaco jewel in the crown, twice, rather makes your comment redundant!!…No?


Hmm, if so what’s that say about Vettel? Seeing as Di Resta beat him straight up as teammates in 2006 Euro F3?

I think Di Resta did alright in F1 … in his 3 years he was beaten on points by Sutil in ’11, Hulk in ’12, and then beat Sutil in ’13. He didn’t Gutierrez up the place.


@ KRB….You may be right but he’s only second or even third tier. After FI there was no one beating down the door…AFAIK.


Mark Webber, David Coulthard, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill, heck even Jackie Stewart. I’m sick of these snotty nose kids.


What about Fangio then??….. no wait… he’s dead….. back to the drawing board then😄


IIRC, in the pre-Red Bull days when it was Jaguar, Niki Lauda waa doing some testing of the F1 car and was 2 seconds off the pace.


mr bean


Felix Rosenqvist!!

Tornillo Amarillo

Renault is executing a Master Plan to get P5 in the WCC =
TR has 52 points – Renault has stolen his star-scoring driver…
Haas has 43 points.
Renault has 42 points.
But in the remaining races:
Sainz was P6 in USA and BRA last year (8 points each)
and Hulk P7 three times! In MEX, BRA, and ABU last year.
Renault can get at least 65/70 points at the end of the calendar, but Kvyat, Gasly, his replacement, Magnum, even Grosjean, cannot get more than a low scoring in one or two of the remaining races. However, Williams can score and they are P5 already with 66 points, “almost” comfortably keeping P5.
My math says that Renault would be P6 or P5 at the end of the year…
But next year… Renault will be strong in qualy and in the race with the two drivers, a different story and a very different WCC standings.


Trying to avoid patriotic jingoism here but it really should be an American even if only to try and establish a fanbase outside of the few hundred thousand enthusiasts who currently make up the US F1 fanbase.


I think your right. If it’s just a one of, then I think as someone mentioned above, Dixon ( I know he’s an aussie) or Rossi would have been great.
But now I’m hoping Hartley impresses.


@ James K….Scott Dixon is a Kiwi….and yes, Rossi would’ve been a reasonable choice along with a few other Indy drivers. The fact that Hartley is an ex RB driver is what i think was the clincher. Besides he’s done exceptionally well lately in LMPI and they are very close, performance wise, to an F1 car. I just hope that he does well, well enough to maybe get a full time drive next year. Years ago i would’ve scoffed at that as a proposal but times have proved me wrong. He’s good.


Dixon is a kiwi….ooops, my apologies😄
Great having a kiwi in the mix👍
I’m hoping he does well. He certainly deserves a chance!


good idea. why cant some special provision be made for a top indycar honda driver to drive f1.


Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado was last seen staring at his phone muttering, “Ring dammit, ring!!!”


I think Maldonado decided to drive to the Toro Rosso HQ to make a case for himself but he crashed on the first roundabout just outside his house….


Good call on his part and one I’m personally glad he made.
With a championship at stake he owed it to his team, to Honda and indeed himself to forgo a single Gp to give himself a chance of securing that title.
Many might say its a no brainer however it still must have been tempting all the same. Well played Pierre Gasly.


Dr Marko: ”Announcement was a mistake.”

Dr Marko said WHAT?! Honda must’ve put the fear of God into him. Sent a few samurai around?


I can’t believe not a single person has mentioned Maldonado…surely partnering him with the Russian Torpedo would make for the most entertaining and exciting race ever!


I’ll drive in Austin for them.


Then that would amount to ‘gerbil racing’!!!


Carlos Sainz…


Get Martin Brundle in there!

Probably end up bring Paul Di Resta or Adrian Sutil back though!


I am so happy and relieved to hear this news!

Kvyatt is my favourite F1 driver.


I figure if he was your favourite F1 driver you’d at least spell his name right…


There he is again!!!!


@ Random..[the real one ] Your becoming like C63 who has his very own shadow hahaha


As palmer is yet to finish the season and sainz has took his seat, give him a running the see what he is capable off


I think that everyone knows what Palmers capable of and that’s why he won’t [ or shouldn’t ] get the drive.


But Palmer is British Kenneth. You know how it works here. I know, i know, delete.


@ Capt. Risky…you’re treading a fine line here as one step out of line and you’re branded a ‘you know what’ by the ‘alt left’ oooops pardonnez moi. hahaha


How does it work? Please explain it to me.


@ KRB…Now it’s not like to be so coy?


The sensible and logical solution would be for Sainz and Palmer to each do one more race for their former teams. Both would have a fair chance of scoring points. New drivers coming in to TR may be less likely to score. Asuuming the points matter. Of course as this is f1 sense or logic is unlikely to apply.


Kami Kobayashi????? What happened to him?


Paul Di Resta


My all-time favorite F1 driver is Taki Inoue. Not sure if he is still fit enough, but pretty sure that he will say yes if asked to come racing in the US:


Danica Patrick!

Tornillo Amarillo

Does Tost really decide?
Renault’s plan is working beatifully, Go Sainz!


Brendan Hartley for sure as he has proved he can step into anything and be fast. Obviously fell out with Marko but hey he is an old grump.


Robert Kubica is immensely likable, and was a top driver. But can anybody really hope to have maintained their skills after so many years off? And it is hard for me to believe his injury won’t have imposed a, say, one per cent decrease in racing speed. I’m not sure he’s the best choice.




My understanding is that Franz Tost wanted to take the opportunity to test someone out for next year, I’m assuming to replace Kvyat as Gasly seems to be a definite. So I’m guessing it’ll be someone from the Red Bull development program, but I don’t know if any of them have a super licence?


It can really only be one of:

Sebastien Buemi
Andre Lotterer
Lucas di Grassi
Will Power
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
Romain Dumas
Antonio Giovinazzi
Sergey Sirotkin
Marcel Fassler
Benoit Treluyer
Scott Dixon
Kazuki Nakajima
Loic Duval
Helio Castroneves
Oliver Rowland
Brendon Hartley
Mark Webber
Timo Bernhard
Anthony Davidson
Louis Deletraz
Simon Pagenaud
Charles Leclerc
Alex Lynn
Nyck De Vries
Jose Maria Lopez
Felix Rosenqvist
Juan Pablo Montoya
Jolyon Palmer*
Stephane Sarrazin
Alexander Rossi
Oliver Jarvis
Tom Dillmann
Nelson Piquet Jnr

(current, available holders of a super licence for 2017)


What’s Bruno Senna up to these days?


We have a winner! Your guess was correct!


Good prediction!


JB is gunna be disappointed when he finds out he doesn’t have a superlicence. I wonder what the repercussions of running at Monaco are going to be. Rosberg will surely be scratching his head too. Kvyat? Dodgy list me thinks.


Where’d you get this list? I think it’s a bit out of date … Josef Newgarden just won the Indycar series, which pays out the 40 pts needed for a Super License. Also, I don’t believe all of the above hold a Super License, just that they qualify to have one.


Josef Newgarden would be available next year – I am pretty sure the list is only updated once a year


It has to be a no brainer, Palmer, out of contract, fit, current and familiar with the Renault power plant.

Puting Buemi, Alguersuari, or Vergne in the car will just achieve the same result as Di Resta in Hungary and Kubica would be too much of a risk at a time when Toro Rosso are looking to preserve their place in the championship.

It would also be an opportunity for them to evaluate Kyvat and Williams to further evaluate Palmer.


Why would anyone need to further evaluate Palmer ? He’s been around for almost two seasons and his performances have been abysmal. He may shine in another series but not F1. time to let go.


Hear, hear! A voice of reason.


In F1, you must be joking.


Sébastien Buemi would be my first option. Kubica or Diresta, even Giovanazi, for sure are more fitted for the job since they are more close to F1 than Buemi, but might be more complicated than just put Buemi in the car, for contratcual reasons I would say… duno.

I also find correct that Gasly runs the final race in superformula, other way would be disrespectful for the category.


There is a Honda driver who has F1 experience, is free that weekend and would be driving in his home race: Alex Rossi.


Kalle Rovanpera would be an exciting and great choice
-and he has red-bull links…


We need a young gun.


These musical driver games are very distatsteful. He’s in He’s out… does not project a good image for the team.


Distasteful? That is how it works from time to time. All good to have some unpredictability….


I think what this exposes is seemingly there is not the depth of talent there once was in terms of emerging stars coming through the RB program in the junior categories coming up behind the RBR/STR guys who are racing/have raced in F1 in 2017.


Odd, Honda made a statement during the Japanese GP that they’d prefer Gasly to run in F1 to get the experience rather than run in the Super Formula race. This is a U-turn.


How about…Webber!


Best Sebee comment ever!


What a great idea…hahaha


Or Button. They don’t have many options.


Charles Leclerc anyone?


Seems like amateur hour, or rather month, at Toro Rosso. Their shenanigans to do not create the illusion of a well-organised team.


Sounds like corporate politics spilling out into the public arena to me.


I do not believe that any of this is down to them.
The masters are pulling the strings and making them dance.


They will be paying most of the bills next season. As they say, who pays the bills, call the tunes.


so many palmer suggestions, sometimes i forget how british everyone in this comment thread is. If nationality is how we’re suggesting drivers then GO CHANDHOK! He’s already at the grid every weekend…


Then let’s have Mark Webber back.
Part of the family and a proven winner. Oh – and always at the track too!


Wouldn’t it be interesting to add a flag of the nationality besides the names of the people who write a comment? It certainly would put their comment in perspective.


Has he still got a superlicence? He has at least an advantage the he has driven a modern F1 car, but there is also David Coulthard who has still got a superlicence!


Srikanth, Palmer is a sensible suggestion, he has a super licence, is not contractually bound to any other team, and is not taking part in any other series. He is also the only available driver with experience ofvthe 2017 cars. He may not set the world on fire in that Torro Rosso, but I can’t think of anyone else who would do a better job for one race.


The obvious pay off from Renault, and no doubt clauses in the contract signed, will kill that idea.


Bon bon, no doubt that’s true, moot point now anyway.


Good point, but, and in F1 there is always a but. He most certainly is contractually constrained me thinks. If Renault have effectively terminated his contract, and paid him off not to race for the rest of the season, I doubt he can just walk into the torro rosso seat without having to compensate Renault.


Is there a current indycar driver with a link to Honda and enough points to get a superlicens?


Alexander Rossi & Scott Dixon


One is Scott Dixon but that won’t happen. Rossi is the other. Unlikely.


Vergne or Buemi will be a good replacement if Redbull does not have any capable junior driver down the line.


I think Gasly really should be racing in Super-Formula. Good decision, even if it causes some trouble.
Palmer is kind of the default answer.
Some young development driver is the risky answer. Even if they have the Superlicence.
Kubica is the marketing stunt answer.
Buemi or another former STR driver is a good answer, but in their place I wouldn’t take a one-off in an STR. In a Mercedes, Ferrari or RBR? Yes. STR? No, thanks. Unless, perhaps, Kvyat is definitely history.


I’d love to see Palmer take the seat and get a good result. Certainly a guy who has already scored double the points that Kvyat has – while in an inferior and less reliable car – deserves a chance if Kvyat is still getting a drive!!
It’s also worth pointing out that the 2 Renault cars have only BOTH finished the race on 8 occasions and Palmer finished ahead of Hulkenberg on 3 of those 8.


And Palmer finished 5 times behind Hulkenberg.!!


unLucky Pierre.


Interesting about-turn but happy for Gasly to go for the Super Formula title. I feel it bolsters his “racer” credentials to go for the title.

I’m also intrigued by who will replace him. Buemi seems the obvious bet. Still in the Red Bull family (I think), I’m a fan and would welcome him back to F1. But, in my heart, I wouldn’t mind seeing Jolyon Palmer there as a one-off. It would allow us to dust off F1’s history of weird one-off driver swaps/team moves. Like that time Johnny Herbert randomly did one race for Ligier between moving from Lotus to Benetton. And, while many people remember Michael Schumacher doing one race for Jordan before jumping ship to Benetton, how many people remember the man he turfed out – Roberto Moreno – doing a one-off race for Jordan as a compromise deal for Schumi moving?


Or Nico Rosberg. Would be good to see the No 1 on a Torro Rosso!


This, is the best idea I have herd for a loooooong time 😉


Jos Verstappen
Mika Salo

. . . . . .any other great super subs?


How could you possibly forget Nick Heidfeld? 🙂


I’m thinking Jackie Stewart or Niki Lauda – though there might be a conflict of interest there.


Would Renault loan Sergey Sirotkin? Team Toro Russian?
Or maybe keep the Dutch fan base growing with Nyck De Vries? He was a McLaren young driver no? Maybe to back-fill on behalf of Honda they could bring Nyck in and give Stoffel or even Alonso a crack in the Toro Rosso.
Would someone like Alexander Rossi be interested in having another crack in F1?
It’s only for one race after all.
Alex Lynn?
Plenty of qualified talent available. It will be interesting to see who gets a shot.


Ferrari will not want either Leclerc’s or Giovanazzi’s futures compromised by a one-off outing for another team.

Kubica, again, is a nice idea, but is he really race-fit at this stage?

Forget Jolyon Palmer’s past with the largely unreliable Renault R.S.17, he is race-fit, proved he can do it at Spa, where he was on course to out-qualify The Hulk before the gearbox issues, and in Singapore in tricky conditions. It would be good to see him in something other than an Enstone product, even if Toro Rosso use the same engine.


Why this fixation with Palmer returning, when renault were willing to replace him before the end of season. He is clearly not good enough, even in an unreliable car. Palmer is done in f1, there are better drivers out there. His having a superlicense, and recent experience is not reason enough for torro rosso to get him in the car.


Not fixated old chap, just thought it might have been good to see Palmer away from the politics and stress of Abiteboul’s empire and given the chance to redeem himself in a car that, on the whole, has been more reliable than the works Renault, but there you go.


Even a mid team dropped him because he couldn’t cut the mustard…he’s gone.


Couldn’t agree more!


Enough Said.


I wouldn’t stake my house on that!

F1 is a fickle business, and I don’t believe everything I see or hear in the media. Generally if a team issues a statement that something definitely isn’t going to happen, I take that as a signal it probably will.

With the battle for 6th in the constructors table so tight, surely this isn’t the time to either bring back names from the past or try out new talent.

Time, short that it is, will tell.


Just wondering how engine allocation and penalties work with changing drivers. Gasly replaced Kyvat for one race. A.N other will replace Sainz for one race. and Gasly will probably replace Sainz for the rest of the season. Do allocation and penalties just apply to a car or driver or combination of both? Will Kyvat return to his own car or replace Sainz?


It’s all in the Sporting Regulations. Section 23.3f is what you’re looking for:

“If a driver is replaced at any time during the Championship season his replacement will be deemed to be the original driver for the purposes of assessing power unit usage.”

James – as a side point, the use of gendered terms in the regulations is somewhat disappointing given this is the pinnacle of open wheel motor racing and is meant to be open and welcoming to all genders. Organisations that are serious about gender inclusion and breaking down invisible barriers tend to be very careful about the hidden language of the words they use in their publications…


The insidious creep of “identity politics’ and PC is driving me nuts. This is a mainly pure F1 site…let’s keep it that way.


I hear you. It honestly drives me nuts too. Still, I think this is a valid issue with the F1 regs, which is why I raised it on an F1 site.


maybe because the FIA is French and the French language is much more ‘genderised’ than English. (sorry, i just made up that word)


A driver can’t swap teams and take his engines with him! Clearly the engines go with the car. The driver points belong to the driver. The team points stay with the team.
The last question is interesting, I would think he would have to go back to his original car otherwise this would open up a serious loophole. No 1 driver is in the championship at the last race but has to take an engine penalty, just swap him to the No 2 car, no penalty, job done. That’s why a car swap would not be allowed.


It would be cool if someone could switch teams and take engines like a Mercedes engine in a Ferrari car?

No F1 ain’t NASCAR. I don’t like some of the rules but I do understand them.


If Gasly takes Sainz’s car is he not effectively swapping cars as he previously drove Kyvat’s?


It’s a good question. I don’t think the exact details of how race drivers are nominated and assigned to cars is made public… It probably should be for reasons of fan engagement…

However, I’m pretty sure Gasly is the official reserve driver. Kyvat is a race driver. To me, a reasonable interpretation is that Gasly (the reserve driver) was nominated to fill in for Kvyat during the last two races. Kyvat will now return to his existing race seat. Hartley will be nominated for the next weekend to fill in for Sainz’s empty race seat. Then Gasly will be nominated to fill Sainz’s seat for the remainder of the season.

It wouldn’t be right for Kvyat to switch seats, given the number of races he’s already done this year. I suspect the FIA also has ultimate say/veto over which seat a driver can be nominated to drive for.

Hypothetically, if a team were to try and switch drivers between their race seats for purely tactical reasons (eg giving a championship contender a better pool of engines) I’m sure the FIA wouldn’t allow it. Surely they are either empowered to reject the change outright or, if not, penalise the team under one of the catch-all “unsporting conduct” / “bringing the sport into disrepute” regulations…


Well, if the reports are true, I got that completely wrong!


Good question! Hope it gets answered.


Give Nyck de Vries a chance to prove his skills


@ Ben…..When Tost was seen idly looking at the empty seat in his car someone came up and said ‘Would you like de Fries with that’. Sorry!!!!


António Felix da Costa


Does not qualify for a Super License, like 99% of the world’s juior drivers now.


I believe a certain Mr J Palmer has some time on his hands….


I thought he was too busy trying to find his son a drive for next season.




He is the only one with some good seat time in this formula, isn’t he?

How about Maldonado?

We’re really throwing things against the wall to see what will stick.

IndyCar season is over. 2017 Indy 500 winner is free, and is a Honda man.
Little return to F1 for Sato? That or why not give Nobuharu Matsushita a shot as a gesture to Honda?


Yeah used to just about all car racing was over to avoid conflict with stick and ball sports. NASCAR and the NFL really have a conflict this year. In fact all sports in the US have seen ratings dip a lot this year.

Now in the US 3 races will be Sunday at their normal time for F1 and probably 9 or 10pm in Europe.

Indy is supposed to gain races next year and F1 will have 1 more. NASCAR has way too many races. It ain’t the NFL. The last one was the least watched since 2000 or 2001. I don’t think anyone likes gimmicks when it comes to championships. Indy has too many double points races. NASCAR no one can understand. At least with F1 it’s more fair and easy to understand especially compared to NASCAR.


For one race only;

Hamilton to Torro Rosso
Vettel to Mercedes
Max to Ferrari
Alonso to Red Bull
Button to McLaren

Lets mix them up a bit and see how good they really are.


Unfortunately for us, the cars would finish in the same order they do now…


If you put Seb in the Merc then you have to put Lewis in the Ferrari, you are not going to learn anything with Lewis running last years Ferrari engine, it wasn’t even fast when it was new.


That was last year. TR uses Renault now.


I love it. To make it properly interesting I think it should be done based on reversing driver & constructor standings. Vettel and Hamilton to fight it out in the Saubers. Riccardo and Bottas into the Mclarens, Raikonnen and Verstappen into Renault, etc, etc.


Not sure what putting Vettel in a Mercedes would tell us that we don’t already know…he had a dominant car for two or three years and did jolly well with it. Likewise Alonso in a Red Bull and Verstappen in a Ferrari…we already know what to expect. Identical machinery wouldn’t reveal much either…a naturally understeery car would favour some drivers over others but that wouldn’t mean they were “better”, just more suited to that particular car. I’d still tune in to watch what you’re suggesting, though!


Wouldn’t that be interesting ! Heck of an idea ! ! ! Assuming, of course, that Button could be talked into another weekend. . . Might even generate some excitement out there in Fan-Land.


In your mix up of drivers Vettel, Verstappen and Alonso get great cars and Hamilton gets a ****box, how does that show who’s the best driver?


Because according to those who are in the ‘know’ Hamilton is always better than the car and can do miracles!


Literally no one says that Kenneth.


Well, think about it for a moment. This is a test to see how much these great drivers can beat the team-mates in the car by. Hamilton regularly beats Bottas by >0.5 secs in quali so what can Vettel do?

Hamilton has this WDC all but wrapped up so let’s see how much he can beat Kvyat by. I’m assuming he should be able to lap him. By the way that car is good enough to regularly finish in the points (as high as 4th in Singapore).


Interesting fan feedback.

How would you guys feel if there was a race in the championship where drivers drove identical cars?


Sebee you love posting impossible ideas.


Formula Fords perhaps? IROC


i’ve always wished they ran 1 race a year with identical cars. old jaguar saloons or something!


They don’t have to race identical cars. There are already separate World Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. Just make them more separate.

20 drivers, 10 constructors, 20 races. Each driver drives each constructor’s car 2 times, a different car each time. Driver, constructor, car assignments are randomly determined prior to the start of the season. New drivers assume slots vacated by departing drivers in the order they become available and are filled.

Drivers are paid not by the Constructors but with prize money for each race, and a larger amount paid out according to the WDC standings at the end of the season. Constructors all receive money at the end of the season for WCC standing, as they do now.

If we really want to know who the best driver is, this is how to determine it, with all drivers having an equal chance to win the WDC because they all spend the same number of races in each car. (Ok, as even as possible, someone still gets an advantage because they, for example, get the Ferrari at Monaco or the Mercedes at Monza.) Some drivers would possibly make less money than they do now, some drivers would possibly make more money.

For the constructors, they should pretty much finish in the order they do now. The downside for them is that they don’t get the fan driver loyalty that translates to fan constructor loyalty, and it’s probable that the constructors would begin to be seen as less a part of the equation as the drivers become the greater part of it. I suppose it also undermines the driver development programs that teams have now, which could be a negative, or not. And, of course, they likely lose out on reliable driver feedback for developing the car.

Unlikely to ever happen, and the downsides for top constructors are probably greater than portrayed, but it’s interesting to imagine what F1 would be like if it were more like tennis and less like football. It would certainly eliminate a lot of the pointless arguing over who the best driver on the grid really is … or would it?


3 drivers in the top teams as an option….the 3rd can be a rookie or an up’ncomer with a few seasons already in a mid field team, plus the team being able to pass back, rotate or draft the 3rd driver if &+*$ happens during the season.


you’re right, each driver driving each car over the season will only leave the driver as the limiting factor in the drivers championship and the constructor in the constructors’ championship. the only downside is that the best driver would win every season and most likely the best constructor would win every season and driver would play less of a part in car development. all teams would have all drivers’ data..


How about doing it at Monaco in Formula Vee cars owned by FIA?
Points get awarded for qualifying, using the current spec cars. Drivers then race in reverse quali order in spec F-V cars that run in current team colors. Winning 3 cars get auctioned off for drivers charity.


I have been thinking about this scenario Sebee. and i think it i s a brilliant idea. Cars with less downforce maybe? More Mechanical grip? Simple front wings etc. Perhaps then we would see who is THE BEST!!!


you mean Indy cars?


what would happen after we’ve seen who the best is?
most of f1’s attraction is it being so mysterious. from the current format, we can tell who the best driver is but prejudice make others argue otherwise.


Identical cars is hard to get, unless you get them some everyday cars like a Mercedes saloon or a Ferrari sportscar, but to have them trying the opposition’s cars would be nice – problem with the idea is the knowledge they would be getting from the opposition. Maybe the last race of the season would be a good place for this shuffle of seats?


drivers would finish in the same order every season.
would you find that interesting?


My friend, Indycar would like a moment of your time sir


It would be great – provided that they are Red Bulls (which seem to be able to follow).


Sebee, there are loads of championships like that. F2 springs to mind….


The point is to give them F1 type hardware which has F1 lap times.

There are different circuits in the season for variety, why not a change of hardware for variety? It would be an interesting exercise to have an event that is 100% about the driver in the calendar, or even two, but at F1 performance levels. In fact, it would have to be an F1 car, or it wouldn’t count toward the WDC.

But of course as pure as the intent of that idea is, F1 would probably pervert it. You’d have to commission a team to build these cars, they would probably put on some engine mode where their drivers only know about it and access it by some special steering wheel button combination, and it gives them an advantage of some sort.

There is no way around all this sneakiness, except with more sneakiness. Which is why the F1 rulebook is what it is today – NY city phone book thick.


identical cars could lead to science like this.


thanks aveli…i can’t understand why Ham didn’t get a penalty for re-entering the track in an unsafe manner after he spun off?


Was known as the IROC Race of Champions. All Camaros and years ago.


I used to like the IROC series (International Race of Champions) cars were identical and prepared by one company. Only changes allowed were to make the car fit the driver and small adjustments for setup. It ended up being alot of NASCAR drivers on oval circuits so it lost its appeal and collapsed.


Personally I’d love to see that.

I don’t see too many opinionated comments about which Manufacturer is better. Probably because it’s fairly obvious and partly because the teams are so secretive about the systems that lay under the skins of the cars no one can really comment with anything to back their opinions up with.

The drivers however is what most of the comments seem to be about. A race in equal machinery would be great to see. Will the manufacturers agree to do it? Probably not. What’s even more unfortunate though is would the drivers agree to it? I don’t think all of them would.


Lol 2nd that. I also don’t mind Alonso and Ham in Ferrari, Ves and Vet in the Mercedes. Just for one race.


Chuck Kubica in the car. Nothing to lose!


They had the Honda deal signed for a long time but were carping on about running a driver around at the back end of the grid in f1 as early as possible.
Finally seem to have seen sense.
Good luck to Honda dealing with them in the future.


So Toro Rosso need someone with a super licence, and not part of any other team’s driver programme? I hear Jolyon Palmer’s available! More seriously, is Buemi available? I know he’s still part of the Red Bull family, despite driving for Renault e-Dams in Formula E and Toyota in WEC.


Paul Di Resta? Was pretty solid at Williams…


Actually Palmer would be a serious candidate more so than Buemi.


The sad fact though is that Buemi is a far better driver than Palmer.


Robert Kubica? Would help Williams make their decision for next year, and create a great story for F1. I guess the only other options are Giovinazzi, recall someone like Buemi, or just run one car. I’m glad Gasly is doing his last race in super formula, it would be pretty disrespectful to the series if ione of their championship contenders missed the last round.


“Reportedly, one of the reasons is that when Kubica does return, he would have to give back a lifetime insurance payout he received for being permanently unable to race in F1 — even if that comeback is for one race only.”




do you think kubicca isn’t aware of that insurance payout? he has surely looked into all legal implications before even contemplating his preparation for a possible return.
no risk of having to pay back anything. all payments were based on his position at the time and not the future.


“lifetime payout”… “permanently unable”…


This insurance business that Rosberg mentioned a couple of days ago means that Kubica could be an expensive driver next season since he would need enough to cover the insurance repayment on top of the salary that he would require. Unless he has serious personal backing I would think his return is doubtful. Regarding the Williams seat, I think that the determining factors will be (1) what the Strolls want and (2) what Martini want. I think that they will probably opt to keep Massa.


I was not aware of the insurance issue, thanks Sebee.


There is an insurance problem for Kubica making a mid season comeback . This insurance thing will not affect a 2018 full time comeback. Nico Rosberg has said he will not be doing any offs and will be purely focussed on Williams 2018 . Also i’m not sure I agree with you on it being disrespectful to Super Formula had Pierre missed the last rounds. My opinion is once you are in F1 and have super licence requirements then F1 should take priority over everything else.


yep, they whole idea of doing super formula was to get an f1 chance. now he has an f1 drive so it’s no longer important to him but it is important to his sponsors and race team he signed the contract with.


Returning to F1 could become costly for Kubica. He had insurrance for what happened to him (loosing F1 career by an accident) and they paid out. If he returns to F1 the insurrance company wants their money back. So not sure if Kubica will take that risk for one race. For a season at Williams he maybe will.


Kubica would be great. However, STR seat will require Renault or Honda or RB link, which Kubica is already released from. I’d also love to see someone like Charles Leclerc, fresh from his GP2 success to F1. And he has tested these cars before. Again, can’t see happening because he is linked to Ferrari. They could possibly run just one car too to save money.


Let Franz know I’m available that weekend


Mr.Franz might not have authority to select a driver.


Can you torpedo Hamilton to keep the championship going?


Let’s ask Rosberg to do it … that would be good to watch 😀

Plus with him at least we make sure the car gets past turn 1 hahaha … must wait to be lapped to get the opportunity for a torpedo. Sure Rosberg can pull that off.



Kvyat will be returning to normal duties at the US GP.


Lol. I have full confidence in my driving ability but may be a long shot to get a Toro Rosso on front row of grid


Hamilton should lap you after 6 laps so just take him out then!


Jolyon Palmer is free!


@ matt W. and why do you think that is?


yep, he’d do a good job and be more than happy to do it.


Good idea!


Doh! Why didn’t I think of that!


@ Matt W, better to pay and get someone decent!


And he should stay that way.


Bring back Vergne or Alguersuari – or I’m sure Jos Verstappen will be attending the race.


No they’re both rubbish! I’d rather see Jos in the car than those two clowns!


That’s second time in a row you call them clowns. What’s wrong with you man? Did Sutil bite you?


Vergne wasn’t rubbish. He was somewhere between Fisichella and Heidfeld – not a winner but capable of 4th to 6th places.


Might be a tight fit. . .

Kubica (sp?) ought to be available, too. And he has the experience if Kvyat doesn’t run into him.


Robert Kubica? Experience of what exactly? A few test sessions? Make no mistake quite apart from what we would wish for, Robert is not up to racing speed. He might get there yet, but not parachuted into an unfamiliar car at such short notice. Current F1 might appear to be a breeze compared with the arm and gut wrenching past but it’s no pushover…


Perspective: They are looking for a driver to replace Gasly, who has a total of 2 GPs worth of experience.
It’s not as if they’re parachuting in someone to replace Hamilton at the last minute.


If Buemi could be sourced he would be a great substitute.


Buemi is a great driver, but it’s nice and more exciting when a rookie comes into F1. I want to see how the guy will do in F1. I hope he does well.


Prost likes Buemi too. Probably because of his performances in the Prost FE team. If Prost could find a way, he’d get Buemi placed in the Renault F1 team, but, obviously, that path is now closed.


He is contracted to Renault- who just got Sainz out of TR, and who have no incentive to give up the advantage they now have to beat them on points by loaning out a quality driver.


@ken, can’t even see your comments here. Goes straight to my email sometimes. Strange!


They always go to email first. But I’ve found that sometimes it can take a few days before a post comes on here, same with replies.
I suppose I depends on where JA is in the world.
Just my guess🤔


@ James k…Yes, i thought so too. Sometimes an email will land in the inbox but not appear on the site for 24/36hrs! By the time you post a response others have intervened and your post bears little relevance, in isolation, to the comment your were replying to in the first case.


I know😄, but it gives some good reading sometimes! Trying to string the comments together.


Thank you for explaining that Kenneth, I thought I was going nuts. Have tried to respond to ‘replies’ after reading the email but could never usually find them. As you say, responses to replies then are out of context much of the time so I mostly don’t bother. I suppose it is one way of limiting bandwidth and perhaps it is intentional.


It’s because the email arrives right at the time when someone replies, not when the reply is approved! Have been asking Mr Allen for a bit if he needs some help sorting this out.


@ FZ…yes, some strange things from time to time. Last week two of my comments simply vanished into the ether. Other times i lose the link and everything vanishes, never to be sighted again!!! It only happens with this site too.


That’s the worst thing – my most brilliant comments full of incisive wit and wisdom often disappear!


Ah, is that the reason for the level of your current postings?)


very disappointing, since your witty, incisive comments are the only reason i come to this site! 😀


@ AezyD ..I share your pain hahaha


Suppose this is a function of the new link with JA and whoever it is? Have had stuff disappear in the past, but only on rare occasions.


Verstappen to Torro Rosso for the weekend with Gasly.
Button to RBR.


Oops! I first read that as “PBR” which would be appropriate for a race in Texas but didn’t fit in with Button. Then I read it again… lol


Jos Verstappen of course 😉


Paul Di Resta?


kenneth, I guess this illustrates how even press releases aren’t the final word on a subject sometimes, eh?

The race is in America, so why not Alexander Rossi or even Josef Newgarden?


Hartley confirmed, congrats to him. First Kiwi F1 driver in 33 years!

I recall posting before the season that it could be one of the most sparse in terms of F1 debuts, either from Race 1 or mid-year. At the time it looked like we might only see one, that of Stroll. Of course we then also got Giovinazzi at race 1, and now have had Gasly and Hartley for mid-year debuts. Add to that the cameo’s of Button and Di Resta, and we’ve likely had the most race participants this season for awhile, even with only 20 cars.


And at the exact moment 50 years ago a new zealander became WDC!


@ KRB…yes, even an official TR press release has been revoked!!! I have no predetermined wish to see any specific driver and it now appears that it could be any one of either Buemi,Hartley or even Rossi without even looking further afield. Just so long as Palmer doesn’t get the drive as that would be a waste of a seat.


It’s funny but you possibly wouldn’t have said that in 2014 after viewing JP’s GP2 results, beating Rossi, Nasr & Vandoorne to the title. I don’t know what happened to him in F1 but it was possibly a lack of confidence rather than a lack of skill..


I’m a bit late to the party here, but I think you have to look at how many years it took them to win the title: Palmer won it at the fourth attempt (same as Maldonado, Leimer and Pantano, although one less than Valsecchi). In contrast Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Leclerc and Hamilton won in their rookie season, with Glock, Gasly and Vandoorne in their second seasons.


@ Baron..Yes, you are right i suppose but when he was given the drive i did say that i hoped that he was better than his father in F1. Palmer seems to me to be the classic example of what happens when one is elevated above a certain level of competence. All F1 drivers are good. It’s just that some are better than others and then some get the chance to get the best machinery. A minor point here…body language, over time, can be a small guide into driver’s demeanour. Palmer very rarely looked into the camera. He always seemed to gazing off into the far distance as if he was looking for answers!!! Is there anybody out there? Just a small point and probably irrelevant.


the shoe bomber had his chance a few years ago !


Hahaha…I wondered where i’d seen him before!


I’d go with Charles Leclerc if possible.


@ FZ…Where? haha


Yeah he would. But don’t you think it’s a great opportunity for someone young and completely new would be great as well. These days th young drivers don’t get to jump in the modern F1 cars for test runs anymore. This could be an opportunity to suss out what’s in the making for the future.


@ FZ…I now see that Brendan Hartley is being mentioned as a strong possibility!. Now there’s one completely out of left field, as they say in the Land of the Free. Hartley has, since leaving red Bull, carved out a great career in WEC and looks like adding to his WDC tally again this year. Mark Webber , who drove with Hartley at Porsche talks very highly of him and i wouldn’t be surprised if he was somewhere in there and involved with the proposal. Surprises galore….


Good news for Hartley. It’s odd to refer to a WDC champ as a rookie, and I think it’s a great choice – a more mature/experienced driver rather than a teenage learner driver (no offence Max).
I just hope he does better than previous WEC champ Zonta, who really disappointed in F1.


You got your wish mate. Great to see someone from NZ in F1.


It certainly is!!
Great stuff, no one expected that!!!.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope comes through with flying colours👍


@ FZ…A few years ago when Porsche announced their WEC entry and their dedicated drivers i did a double take when i saw that it included Hartley !! I’d more or less lost track of him after he left Red Bull. My first impression was WOW…what were Porsche thinking ? but then again would they make an error especially with Webber driving and advising! He has since gone on to prove that he is an excellent driver and his credentials bear that out. I certainly wish him the best of luck. He suffered at the hands of Marko but went on to carve out some memorable drives. It will be very interesting to see just how he fares as it will be tough but he is a tough character which belies his outward appearance.


I just hope he gets a hair cut!


Look what happened to Samson, when Delilah cut his hair!!😄

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