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13 October 2017, 09:39 | Charlene Valdez
"Eventually [after moving] I made some friends, like Brendon Hartley, who was racing in the same series that year so I could relate to him, he was from the same part of the world and a Red Bull driver at the time so he was someone I was trying to aspire to", Ricciardo said.
"What an awesome feeling", Hartley said in a team statement.
The New Zealand driver Brendan Hartley will race for Toro Rosso at next week's US Formula One Grand Prix in Texas.
Autosport magazine is reporting that 27-year-old Hartley is the favourite to replace Gasly for the race at the Circuit of Americas track and is in the frame to get a full-time drive at the team next year.
The New Zealander has been drafted in as replacement for Frenchman Pierre Gasly, who will be competing in the Super Formula finale in Japan instead. However, there was uncertainty about whether Gasly would contest the Austin race or try to win the Super Formula championship, where he is one point off the lead ahead of the final race. "This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1", said Hartley. You'll note that the other driver can't be Kvyat: he has already returned in the other vehicle, having replaced Carlos Sainz Jr, who went off to Renault as part of a new engine deal between Honda and the two teams.
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 partner Kvyat in the US, with the latter having regained a Toro Rosso seat due to Carlos Sainz's move to Renault being brought forward.
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost added that he was "convinced" that Hartley, whose last F1 outing came in a test for Mercedes in 2012, was the right man for the job.
"We are really happy to have him back in our team".
Hartley, 27, will be the ninth Kiwi to get behind the wheel of an F1 auto and the first since Mike Thackwell in 1984 when he replaces Frenchman Pierre Gasly at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) track in Austin, the Red Bull-owned team said.
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