Brendon Hartley, Porsche, WEC, 2017

Hartley reveals how his F1 debut came “out of the blue”

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Brendon Hartley has revealed how he landed a surprise Formula One debut with Toro Rosso with weekend.

The 27-year-old was previously part of Red Bull’s junior team but was dropped in 2010 while his fellow young drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vernge were promoted.

Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber, Porsche, Le Mans 24 Hours, 2017
Brendon Hartley biography
Hartley went on to land a place at Porsche’s LMP1 team in the World Endurance Championship where he has won both the title and the coveted Le Mans 24 Hours. But Porsche’s abrupt decision to quit the series earlier this year prompted him to get in touch with Red Bull.

“I didn’t 100 per cent see this one coming,” Hartley told the New Zealand Herald. “When Porsche announced they were stopping LMP1 I started trying to figure out where I would be next year.”

“One of the first calls I made was to Helmut Marko at Red Bull and I said if there was ever an opportunity I am ready now – I wasn’t eight years ago. He got the message but I didn’t hear anything for three or four months and to be honest this came out of the blue this last week.”

Hartley received a text message of support from James Amon, the son of long-time New Zealand F1 racer Chris Amon who died last year.

The 27-year-old said the experience of being dropped from Red Bull’s roster helped make him a better driver.

“It was a long time ago,” Hartley explained. “2010 was when I was cut from the Red Bull junior development program.”

“I went through a tough time. To put it bluntly I just wasn’t ready. I wasn’t mature enough; at that point in my life I was enjoying my racing. For having gone through that I am a lot stronger.”

He admitted he is “a little unprepared going into next weekend without ever testing the car but on the other hand I absolutely feel ready.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 7 comments on “Hartley reveals how his F1 debut came “out of the blue””

    1. Will be interesting to see how he will fare against the Torpedo in the same machinery.

    2. I hope we get another comparision between WEC and F1 from an experienced endurance driver. I enjoyed Andre Lotterer’s comments back in Spa 2014, but he was driving a Caterham and he didn’t even get to complete the race.

      1. I think Lotterer’s experience in the Japanese super car made him ready – like Gasly
        But Hulkenberg wion, so …
        Interesting indeed!

      2. @fer-no65, it was one of the weaker cars on the grid at the best of times, and by time he drove the car the team were getting fairly desperate for funding – remember, just a few races later Kobayashi revealed that the team was running out of spare suspension components. I believe they were already having problems with supplies for the team by then, so the car probably wasn’t in the best of shape by that point in the season in all likelihood.

    3. I thought for all these years he was still backed by Red Bull like Webber? At least for some years there was still the logo and text on his helmet I thought?

    4. At least he is not another German or French driver. F1 needs to broaden its appeal.

    5. Tweek from South Park enters F1! This is going to be great!

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