Hartley called Marko when Porsche announced WEC exit

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

Hartley called Marko when Porsche announced WEC exit

Hartley got a surprise Toro Rosso chance for this weekend's United States Grand Prix at Austin, with Carlos Sainz 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 F3 season, 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 the 2015 WEC title alongside Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard.

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 LMP1 programme was finishing, just to say 'if ever there is an opportunity I'm ready'," Hartley told Motorsport.com.

"He got the message and now this opprotunity 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
Haas wants to see "concrete plans" from F1 owners
Previous article

Haas wants to see "concrete plans" from F1 owners

Next article

Renault "months" ahead with 2018 reliability targets

Renault "months" ahead with 2018 reliability targets
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021