Brendon Hartley has refused to rule out a longer stay in F1 beyond this weekend, despite only seemingly contracted for this weekends Grand Prix in Austin. Toro Rosso have brought a completely different driver lineup to Austin compared to the previous race in Suzuka, with this being Hartley’s first ever Grand Prix.
Carlos Sainz's departure for Renault to replace Jolyon Palmer and Pierre Gasly's obligations to compete in the finale of the Japanese Super Formula series due to Honda's request, have seemingly seen the teams two preferred drivers to see out the season both leave mid season. This has seen Daniil Kvyat been brought back to the team and Hartley scrambled in at very late notice.
The New Zealander last tested an F1 car for Mercedes in 2012 after being dropped by the Red Bull system in 2010, but has since gone on to drive Sportscars for Porsche, winning the Le Mans 24 hours race and the World Endurance Championship series. It is unclear whether Toro Rosso will pick Hartley or Kvyat to see out the season, and due to the fact that Kvyat was dropped only two races ago, there is a very real possibility that Hartley could be with the team beyond Austin.
"Nothing has really been said yet," Hartley, 27, said in Austin."Nothing's been confirmed for me for next year, I'm trying not to think further forward than this weekend because I've got a fair amount on my plate. But yeah, I was looking at Indycar and I still am."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing