Multiple media sources have suggested that Porsche LMP Team driver Brendon Hartley is set to make his Formula One debut at the United States Grand Prix next weekend, an opportunity which the German LMP1 team would not stand in the way of.
Hartley, who was once part of the Red Bull Junior programme and the F1 team’s reserve driver between 2009 and 2010, has permission from Porsche to race elsewhere while still driving in the brand’s LMP1 programme.
“At the moment, the story is just speculation, but from Porsche’s point of view, any request to do this would be no problem,” a Porsche spokesperson told DSC.
“The only restriction on any of our drivers after Le Mans is that they must not be in a situation where they are competing with Porsche or any other VAG brand. The same was the case when Brendon was racing and ultimately winning at Petit Le Mans last weekend.”
The chance for the 2017 Le Mans winner to make his first F1 start has arisen after Frenchman Pierre Gasly chose to skip the F1 race at CoTA, in order to compete in the Super Formula finale with Red Bull-backed Team Mugen, where he will be gunning for the title.
Sources have also suggested that Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Sebastien Buemi would be Toro Rosso’s reserve option, if Hartley were to be unavailable.
Should Hartley make the start, he would be the second driver in Porsche’s current LMP1 stable to make an F1 start while competing in the WEC, after Andre Lotterer raced with Caterham at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix during his tenure with Audi Sport.