Toro Rosso have announced Brendon Hartley will partner the returning Daniil Kvyat at the US GP, with Pierre Gasly skipping the race to complete the Super Formula season in Japan.
Hartley is a former Red Bull junior driver and has been competing in the World Endurance Championship with Porsche, winning this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.
The 27-year-old Kiwi will now race in his first Formula 1 Grand Prix, with Gasly contesting the Super Formula finale with Team Mugen at Suzuka.
“What an amazing feeling! This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1,” said Hartley.
“I have grown and learnt so much since the days when I was the Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver, and the tough years I went through made me stronger and even more determined. 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.
“COTA is a track I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently. I’m trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it.”
Hartley completed one test for Red Bull in 2008 before being made an official reserve driver for Red Bull and Toro Rosso in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
However, he was released from Red Bull’s young driver programme in July 2010 and while he completed a young driver test for Mercedes in 2012 and did simulator work for the Silver Arrows in 2013, he failed to secure a full-time return to F1.
Practice One in Austin will be the first time Hartley has driven a hybrid-era F1 car.
The drafting in of Hartley alongside Kvyat means Toro Rosso will field their third different driver line-up in 2017.
Toro Rosso’s driver line-up in 2017 Australia – Singapore Carlos Sainz Daniil Kvyat Malyasia GP Carlos Sainz Pierre Gasly Japanese GP Carlos Sainz Pierre Gasly US GP Daniil Kvyat Brendon Hartley Mexico – Abu Dhabi Daniil Kvyat Pierre Gasly
Kvyat was replaced by Gasly, the 2016 GP2 champion, at the Malaysia and Japanese GPs but with Carlos Sainz moving to Renault four races early, the Russian will make his return at Austin.
On announcing Sainz’s departure, Toro Rosso had stated Gasly would drive in America, but Honda – who supply the Italian team with engines in 2018 – wanted the Frenchman to race the Super Formula finale on the same day for Team Mugen, who they power.
The 21-year-old is second in the standings, just 0.5 points behind leader Hiroaki Ishiura.
Gasly is set to return for the three remaining races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi as Toro Rosso assess their options for their 2018 driver line-up.
Will Lewis Hamilton clinch his fourth world championship in Austin? Watch the US GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1, the race begins at 8pm on Sunday October 22. Want to watch but not got Sky F1? Buy a NOW TV pass from £6.99!
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click ‘Report’.