Toro Rosso keep F1 guessing ahead of US Grand Prix

Toro Rosso keep F1 guessing ahead of US Grand Prix

Toro Rosso keep F1 guessing ahead of US Grand Prix

The rookie, who is set to return for the last three rounds of the season after Austin, has said he would rather stay with Toro Rosso and the team indicated that would be the case when he arrived.

Brendon Hartley has emerged as the leading contender to replace Pierre Gasly at Toro Rosso for next week's US Grand Prix in Austin.

The Palmerston North-product is familiar with Red Bull Racing, completing one test for them in 2008 before being made an official reserve driver for Red Bull and Toro Rosso in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Coming off a win last weekend at IMSA's Petit Le Mans season finale in a Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi, Hartley has become an incredibly popular solution as a stand-in solution between FIA WEC obligations with Porsche.

The New Zealander has stepped up to the vacant seat after Carlos Sainz moved from Toro Rosso to Renault. 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.

"The Austin track is one I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently".

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As a former F1 test driver for STR, parent team Red Bull, and Mercedes, Hartley chased the grand prix dream through 2013, but turned his attention to global sports auto racing once it became apparent transitioning to a full-time ride was not in the cards.

And while it might seem likely that Kvyat will stay on, he has now been demoted twice by Red Bull - once from the senior team back to Toro Rosso in May 2016 and then dropped altogether after this year's Singapore event. While never reaching his true potential in single-seaters, Hartley has excelled ever since.

But having won the Le Mans 24 Hour Race earlier this year and on the back of some unique circumstances at Toro Rosso out of the blue this opportunity presented itself.

Hartley, 27, said it was an unbelievable feeling to be contemplating a debut at last and felt ready for it at a track he already knows from world endurance. "With all the racing experience accumulated over the years, we are convinced that he will do a fantastic job for us", he said.

Kenny Smith, who according to the New Zealand media source Newshub is Hartley's "mentor", thinks the driver will jump at the chance to race for Toro Rosso next weekend.

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