Photo Credit: Nick Busato
Three years ago, Brendon Hartley was on the fast track to Formula One.
As a Red Bull test and reserve driver, the New Zealander, who moved to Europe at the age of 16, had come up through the single-seater ranks and showed promise in Formula Renault 3.5, being touted as the energy drink giant’s next greatest star.
But after being dropped from the Red Bull Junior Team midway through the 2010 season, Hartley was forced to re-evaluate his long-term prospects for F1, despite later making repeated attempts of breaking into the sport’s pinnacle.
“Growing up, my dream was F1,” Hartley says in a SPEED.com interview. “But the start of last year, I realized that it’s not as easy to get there as meets the eye. There are only 22 seats and the majority of the seats are taken up by drivers who are paying to be there. I’m not saying I deserve to be there more than anyone else.
“I had a big chance and was very close to being a Formula One driver, probably more than people realize. But at that moment in my career, I was young and a bit lost within my head and I didn’t cope with the pressure I had around me and missed out on the opportunity.”
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