Hartley confirmed for F1 drive

Pierre Gasly to Miss US Grand Prix for Super Formula Finale

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost pointed out that Hartley had longstanding Red Bull roots, and also hinted that the team - which tends to try to promote young talents ready for promotion to the Red Bull team - was eyeing a more experience pair of hands to close out the season.

"Eventually [after moving] I made some friends, like Brendon Hartley, who was racing in the same series that year so I could relate to him, he was from the same part of the world and a Red Bull driver at the time so he was someone I was trying to aspire to", Ricciardo said.

New Zealander Brendon Hartley is to make his Formula 1 debut for Toro Rosso at next weekend's US Grand Prix. COTA is a track I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently.

"What an wonderful feeling!", Hartley said. 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.

Not since Mike Thackwell in 1984 has a Kiwi driven on motorsport's biggest stage but that could change in the next fortnight with Le Mans 24 Hour victor Brendon Hartley looming as a serious contender for the vacant Toro Rosso seat at next week's US Grand Prix.

Here's why it's taken Hartley so long to get onto the grid.

The New Zealander was tipped for a spot in F1 heading into the 2008 season, when Red Bull invited him along to a show run in Saudi Arabia.

However, he was dropped by Red Bull soon after and his most recent F1 running was with Mercedes in a test at Magny-Cours in France in 2012.

However, his F1 opportunity appeared to have passed him by, with his focus switching fully to sports cars in 2014 when he signed up for a season with Porsche alongside former Red Bull driver Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard.

With Carlos Sainz moving to Renault and Gasly returning to Japan to race in the final round of the Super Formula series, the Faenza-based outfit is bringing back Dany Kvyat but still has a seat on offer for Austin.

"He'd have to go to formula one because that has been his main aim from his early days, and what he has been aiming for", Smith said.

"He was always looking to go quicker and look what he has got now. With all the racing experience accumulated over the years, we are convinced that he will do a fantastic job for us".

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