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FORMULA RENAULT 3.5 NEWS 

Tech 1 sad to see Hartley go

Brendon HartleyTech 1 team boss Simon Abadie has paid tribute to Brendon Hartley after the Kiwi lost his place with the Red Bull young driver programme - and consequently his Formula Renault 3.5 seat with Abadie's squad.

British Formula 3 championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne will take Hartley's place at Tech 1 when the FR3.5 season resumes after its summer break.

Hartley lost his Red Bull support last week having failed to win a race in his first year and a half in the series.

"We're very sorry for Brendon Hartley," said Abadie. "He's an excellent driver and a great bloke with whom we had a very good relationship.

"He's got great qualities and a lot of talent, and the whole team really enjoyed working with him for almost two seasons.

"We'd like to wish him all the best for the next steps in his career and we hope he'll be able to bounce back. We understand and respect the Red Bull Junior Team's decision."

But while sad to see Hartley go, Abadie added that he was excited to welcome Vergne as Daniel Ricciardo's new team-mate.

"We're delighted to welcome Jean-Eric Vergne to our team and we hope he'll also be with us in 2011," he said.

"He's doing a great job in the British F3 Championship, and he could win the title before the restart of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. That's his number one objective, and Jean-Eric should be the British F3 champion this season.

"He knows what he has to do with Tech 1 Racing in the FR 3.5 Series. He's no stranger to the car as he drove it in winter testing; he knows the team as we ran him in the GP3 Series. He joined us at short notice and adapted very well to a car which he sat in for the first time.

"So we're happy and confident. With Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Verge we've got what it takes to win both titles: the teams', in which we have a 25-point lead, and the drivers' in which Ricciardo has to close the 11-point gap to the leader."

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