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Hartley to race for Toro Rosso in Austin

14 October, 2017, 00:45 | Author: Joan Malone

"I'm trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it".

He subsequently became a top LMP1 sports vehicle driver for the works Porsche team, and was a teammate of Mark Webber's as he won the 2015 world endurance championship.

This opportunity presented itself as the aftermath of driver changes in Formula One that are taking place and have taken place at the end of this season leading up to next season.

Gasly himself had been brought in to replace Daniil Kvyat but the Russian is back after Renault activated Carlos Sainz's move ahead of schedule.

But media outlets including the Spanish sports daily Marca now report that the frontrunner is in fact Brendon Hartley.

However, Hartley never got his debut as he was made to wait patiently as other drivers took seats above him.

"What an incredible feeling", said the 27-year-old.

The 27-year-old Hartley last tested with Toro Rosso in 2009 and was over the moon to get the belated chance to race his first F1 GP.

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There are no clashes between F1 and the remaining two WEC events in China and Bahrain so Hartley is theoretically free if he impresses in Austin.

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

His elevation to a drive for Austin is further proof Toro Rosso is unconvinced about its line-up for next season.

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost reportedly wants to use the next race as a chance to evaluate a new driver to add to next year's roster with current driver Pierre Gasly remaining a favourite to retain one of the team's cars, but the other now still up in the air.

Hartley, this year's Le Mans 24 Hours victor and a world endurance champion, will add his name to a roll call of Kiwi Formula One drivers that now ends with Mike Thackwell in 1984.

"I want to say a huge thanks to Red Bull and to Porsche", he told the Toro Rosso site.

After Formula One pulled off the deal of the century to allow McLaren to swap its busted Honda engines for Renault ones, Toro Rosso's standout driver Carlos Sainz Jr. will leave the team for Renault early, starting with the United States Grand Prix.

"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", he said.

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