Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Kiwi poised for Formula 1 debut

Red Bull Content Pool Red Bull Content Pool
Noah Ferguson | 13 October, 2017, 09:22

But it wasn't clear whether Gasly would be able to race at the upcoming United States Grand Prix, as before replacing Kvyat he had been competing in the Super Formula championship, the final round of which will take place in Suzuka, Japan, at the same time as the US GP, preventing him from attending both.

Honda, who will provide the engine power for the Faenza based squad in 2018, had also stated they would not stop Gasly from racing in the U.S., but would be happy for him to return to Japan if a replacement Formula 1 driver could be sought.

Earlier this week, Toro Rosso confirmed that they had handed a recall to Dany Kvyat to replace Carlos Sainz after the Spaniard moved to Renault with immediate effect.

New Zealand motor racing legend Kenny Smith is certain Brendon Hartley will take up an offer to drive for a Formula One team in the United States.

However, Team Principal Franz Tost is now keen to bring in a further driver, to allow him to consider his options for the squad's 2018 driver line-up.

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.

Hartley, the Red Bull official reserve driver in 2009 and 2010, completed one test for the team in 2008 and two for Toro Rosso in 2009 before being dropped from the team's junior programme. Hartley was formerly part of the Red Bull Junior Team and has enough Super License points to compete in Formula One; but he is also now contracted to Porsche in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and is purportedly in talks with Chip Ganassi for a 2018 IndyCar deal.

With that in mind, Toro Rosso and Red Bull have lined up Buemi, who raced for Red Bull's junior team between 2009 and 2011, to step in if a deal for Hartley can not be agreed.

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