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
Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Prime

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Prime

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

French Grand Prix driver ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Prime

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021