2017 Le Mans champion Brendon Hartley will replace Pierre Gasly at Toro Rosso for the US Grand Prix, as the latter is set to complete his Super Formula stint.
The news comes after a few days of speculation post Japanese Grand Prix, when Honda chiefs made it clear that they were hoping Gasly would race in the final round of the Super Formula championship, where he is within a shot of adding the title to his CV ahead of a full-time seat at Toro Rosso in 2018.
“What an amazing feeling!” said Hartley. “This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1. 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.”
Hartley will be the first Formula 1 driver from New Zealand to take part in a race weekend since Mike Thackwell in 1984, having previously been apart of the Red Bull driver programme before switching to sports cars and running with Porsche in their successful LMP1 project.
The move also takes Toro Rosso up to the maximum for the amount of drivers they are able to field in a season, the key catalyst being Carlos Sainz who announced that he will be joining Renault full-time for the US Grand Prix – the team loaning him out to their current engine partner for the foreseeable future.
The changing of positions means that Toro Rosso will have a completely different driver lineup in Austin to the one they had over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.