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Brendon Hartley & Earl Bamber, On A Kiwi Return To F1

And a vote of confidence in WEC

Brendon Hartley

“Its been a pretty crazy week, it’s happened quite quickly and obviously I’m massively excited about the opportunity to take my Formula One debut and, for the moment I am genuinely just trying to think about this weekend and as soon as this is over then full focus comes onto a big challenge next week.

“There’s a lot to learn before next weekend but I feel ready for it, honestly this (Porsche LMP1) programme has taught me so much and working with guys like Mark (Webber), Earl and Timo in such a big project where we are at the forefront of technology and at the heart of development, I think I’ve grown a lot as a driver and, yeah I am really looking forward to it.”

Earl Bamber

You’ve known Brendon longer than anyone else in this paddock, any thoughts on Brendon and that journey?

“I think it’s a pretty special journey. We both started together at the same go kart circuit and he had the chance to go towards Formula One with Red Bull and we sort of converged back in this programme at Porsche.

“It was really special to win Le Mans together this year and in what has been a big year we can hopefully get the Championship together too.

“He’s been on the numbers for the last couple of years, he’s been the reference driver in my eyes.

“He deserves the opportunity. It’s awesome for Kiwi motor racing, a long time sponsor of mine Colin Giltrap (below with Brendon and Earl at Le mans in 2015) has been trying to get one of us Kiwis into Formula One so I think it’s a pretty special moment to back in after what 33 years (since Mike Thackwell’s last Grand Prix in 1984).

“I think he’ll do us proud.

“I think it’s great for the WEC as well that F1 can look into this Championship and say that they need to choose drivers from here, that’s a big ‘hats off’ to the WEC and to the level of the drivers and of the teams in these programmes. We were talking earlier about how this all aligns, that if Brendon hadn’t won the (2015 FIA WEC World Drivers) Championship he wouldn’t have had the Superlicense points that allow him to do this. You need to be winning here to get the Superlicence points. Now I’ve got a reason to watch F1!”