Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Who are they, anyway - Toro Rosso young drivers // Introducing Brendon Hartley and Mirko Bortolotti

Published by Christine

We've been looking forward to the young driver event next week because it's been a long time since we saw anything in the way of testing (thanks FIA). Jerez will play host to three days of testing from the 1st to 3rd of December, but we haven't heard of many of the drivers before.

Mr C and I have our heads in the F1 cloud, so these new drivers working their way through lower formulae rarely appear on our radar. In order to get ourselves up to speed, we wanted to run through who's driving, for which team, and the reasons we should keep an eye on them.

We're starting with Toro Rosso, who are naturally picking up their drivers from the Red Bull stable of talent.

Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley
  • Age: 20
  • Nationality: New Zealander
  • F1 Experience: Demo driver through to official test driver for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
  • Notable Achievements: 1st in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 2007, 3rd in British F3 Championship 2008

Hartley has been in our peripheral vision for a while now, as an occasional tester for the Red Bull suite of teams. He was signed up as the official reserve driver for 2009 but couldn't get his superlicence in time and had to hand the role to retired DC. He was ready to go by the time the Spanish GP rolled around, but was strangely overlooked when Alguersuari was given the Toro Rosso drive as Bourdais' replacement while Hartley returned to the lower formulae once more.

Clearly he's not upset at Red Bull, or they him, as he'll be having another go behind the wheel. Brendon is currently scheduled to test on the first day in Spain.

Mirko Bortolotti

Mirko Bortolotti
  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: Italian
  • F1 Experience: Tested for Ferrari in 2008 as a performance reward - was the fastest of the three young drivers
  • Notable Achievements: 1st in Italian F3 2008, 4th in Formula Two 2009

It seems as though the Red Bull stable of drivers have turned away from picking out only those named Sebastian and instead are focusing on drivers who look exactly the same. Good luck telling these two apart!

I haven't heard of Bortolotti but a test drive in a Ferrari means he has some contacts within the paddock. His previous results would indicate spending more time on Italian series' and just now switching to the more notable brands such as GP2, so Mirko may be one to watch for the future.

Mirko is currently scheduled to test on days two and three in Spain.

All content in the series Jerez Testing December 2009