Brendon Hartley gets dual F1 test role

New Zealand teenager Brendon Hartley has been confirmed as the official test driver for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso, following Sebastien Buemi’s promotion to the latter’s race team.

I met Hartley at Oulton Park last year during a Formula Three race. He was not in a fantastic mood having just been beaten to pole position team mate Jaime Alguersuari. I didn’t get to see him the following day after the pair shunted their Red Bull-backed Carlins at the hairpin, but I can’t imagine he was much happier after that either.

Alguersuari beat him (and fellow Carlin driver Oliver Turvey) to the title but all three showed a lot of promise last year. While Hartley races in the F3 Euroseries this year Aguersuari and Turvey have stepped up to the World Series by Renault, which unearthed such F1 talents as Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica and (in an earlier form) Fernando Alonso.

Red Bull have put a lot of money into their young driver programme and, Vettel aside, haven’t got a huge amount to show for it. Hartley is yet one more driver to find his way onto the scheme, but grabbing this testing opportunity at such a young age (19) will help him on the road to the F1 drive he talked about when I met him.

Hartley seems to have taken a leaf out of another Red Bull driver’s book of style: Vitantonio Liuzzi. He had some complicated hat arrangement perched on his head when I met him, with two enormous tassels dangling around his waist. I understand this wasn’t the consequence of a lost wager and was in fact his regular headgear.

Read more: Formula 1 ?s lost nations: New Zealand

Advert | Go Ad-free

6 comments on Brendon Hartley gets dual F1 test role

  1. Not wanting to sound too pedantic, but Hartley won’t be ‘testing’ at all. He will be their third/reserve-driver, so the only action he’ll get is if any of the four Red Bull-backed drivers can’t participate for any reason this year.

  2. I’m such a proud NZer at the moment, even though he may never actually get to drive the car

  3. Steve said on 11th March 2009, 2:47

    I understand the need for cost cutting in F1, but when are we going to stop? The whole ban on in season testing is not doing anything good for the sport. Pedro de la Rosa had it right a few days ago when he stated that the lack of testing will make it more dangerous for those drivers to climb into the cockpit for a race. Dank has it right too, how many testers have actually driven a car in the offseason? How are the young up and comers going to learn anything with the current lack of opportunities to drive the car? Surely, someone has to see that this is going to hurt F1 rather than help it.

  4. Robert McKay said on 11th March 2009, 22:45

    “How are the young up and comers going to learn anything with the current lack of opportunities to drive the car?”

    I think there is special proviso for a certain amount of test kilometres to be done with young/rookie drivers, although its probably not a lot.

    “Pedro de la Rosa had it right a few days ago when he stated that the lack of testing will make it more dangerous for those drivers to climb into the cockpit for a race.”

    May well be true, although surely Pedro’s got an agenda of his own to push, given his job?

    For Hartley, at least being reserve driver for two teams does double the possibility of a drive, although that requires rather a negative frame of thinking that a driver will be hurt/ill.

  5. Chris Johnson said on 12th March 2009, 1:10

    It’s a prestigious assignment, considering that they could have chosen others from the Red Bull stable. And, it shouldn’t detract from his Euro F3 campaign, given the limit to testing miles. Good for him, he seems really quick and must have impressed the teams when he tested late last year.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.