Hartley called Red Bull after learning Porsche was leaving LMP1

Toro Rosso Formula 1 debutant Brendon Hartley says he called his former Red Bull mentor Helmut Marko when current employer Porsche announced its LMP1 World Endurance Championship programme was ending

Hartley called Red Bull after learning Porsche was leaving LMP1

Hartley got a surprise Toro Rosso chance for this weekend's United States Grand Prix at Austin with Carlos Sainz Jr released to join Renault early and Pierre Gasly fighting for the Super Formula title at Suzuka following a two-race stint as Daniil Kvyat's replacement.

Red Bull backed Hartley's early single-seater career, which included a Formula Renault Eurocup title and third place in the 2008 British Formula 3 Championship, but it dropped him during 2010.

He later switched to sportscars and eventually earned a factory Porsche LMP1 drive, winning this year's Le Mans 24 Hours and currently leading the WEC standings with team-mates Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber.

Hartley revealed he got back in touch with Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko when he knew Porsche was quitting LMP1 after 2017.

"I called Helmut after the P1 programme was finishing, just to say 'if ever there is an opportunity I'm ready'," Hartley told Autosport.

"He got the message and now this opportunity came up at the last minute, and quite out of the blue in some respects."

Hartley has had time in the Red Bull simulator in recent weeks - his first such running since a session with Mercedes in 2012 - and said he initially did not know his simulator recall was with a race seat in mind.

"First I did a simulator test and I didn't ask too many questions," he said.

"They said 'come along' and I said 'OK'. I didn't really know there was a chance to be on the grid for Austin.

"It has come about very quickly. I didn't know too long before the media did, let's say that."

Asked if he had given up on ever getting to F1 as he became established in sportscars, Hartley replied: "When I spoke to people I said it was unrealistic, but the dream was always there.

"Did I believe it was really going to happen? Three or four years ago, no.

"Was I really convinced that I had a chance this year? The dream was there, but honestly at 27 when the age of the drivers is starting to get lower and lower, I wasn't sure.

"They are obviously taking a chance with me. They have obviously done their homework."

He added that he returned to the Red Bull fold "a much stronger and more rounded driver now" than when it dropped him.

"I went through some tough times," said Hartley. "Mentally I'm much stronger now.

"I don't make nearly so many mistakes. I am more prepared than ever as a racing driver."

Hartley, who is also in contention for a Ganassi IndyCar seat for 2018, said he did not "want to look that far ahead" when asked if he thought Austin could lead to a full-time Toro Rosso drive next year.

shares
comments
Why F1 drivers should race in F2

Previous article

Why F1 drivers should race in F2

Next article

Renault 'months' ahead with 2018 Formula 1 engine reliability work

Renault 'months' ahead with 2018 Formula 1 engine reliability work
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Brendon Hartley
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Gary Watkins
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

Formula 1
May 9, 2021
How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

Formula 1
May 8, 2021