Brendon Hartley will race with No. 28 in Formula 1 from this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix onwards as his bid for a full-season drive with Toro Rosso in 2018 gathers steam.
Porsche LMP1 driver Hartley joined Toro Rosso to make his F1 debut last weekend in Austin, Texas after the team was forced to find a replacement for Pierre Gasly, who was tied up with Super Formula duties in Japan.
Hartley put in a solid display en route to 13th in his first single-seater race since 2012, earning himself a recall for Mexico, with Gasly returning in place of Daniil Kvyat, who will not return to the team.
Hartley raced with Toro Rosso’s assigned reserve number, No. 39, on debut in Austin, but will now switch to No. 28 for Mexico as his new permanent car number. No. 28 was last used in F1 by British racer Will Stevens, who raced full-time with Manor through 2015.
“I’m so excited to head to Mexico for my second Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was a steep learning curve in Austin last week, so I’m looking forward to putting some of the lessons learned into practice this weekend here in Mexico,” Hartley said in Toro Rosso’s race preview.
“It’s a tricky venue for the engineers, as the high altitude plays havoc on downforce and cooling, but from a driving point of view it’s a great track and one I really enjoy.”
Hartley has tasted success at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City before, having won the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship race in both 2016 and 2017 with Porsche.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko confirmed in an interview earlier this week that Hartley would be locked in for the remainder of the season, with the New Zealander appearing to be closing in on a full-season seat in 2018.
Hartley had been set to move into the Verizon IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing next year, only for the team to announce on Wednesday it had signed 2016 Rookie of the Year Ed Jones from Dale Coyne Racing to partner Scott Dixon.