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Brendon Hartley insists that Formula 1 remains his principal goal but admits that reaching the pinnacle will be no easy feat. The New Zealander, who was replaced in the Red Bull driver programme by Jaime Alguersuari, has suffered a tough World Series by Renault campaign which ended with a podium finish in Barcelona.
Hartley, now 21, tested for Toro Rosso in 2008 and a year later was promoted to the role of official test and reserve driver for both the Faenza outfit and parent team Red Bull Racing. After Alguersuari took his place, Hartley was again appointed by Red Bull for 2010 - a role he shared with Daniel Ricciardo before being dropped after the Monaco Grand Prix, having not yet won a race in Formula Renault 3.5.
Classified seventh in the latest 3.5 season after collecting a last-race third place finish for the Gravity-Charouz team, Hartley remains pragmatic.
“I have no plans at the moment,” he tells GPUpdate.net. “I am quite realistic; I wouldn’t say I have big backing behind me and, with Formula 1’s current state, it’s a bit tricky. Even if you really deserve to be there, sometimes you don’t arrive, so I’m realistic but obviously Formula 1 is where I would love to be.
“I’m not a dreamer, but at the same time of course I would love to be there. I’m quite realistic and just doing my best, to do what I can.”
When asked if any plans are in place for next year, Hartley replied: “There are a few options, so I wouldn’t really like to say.”
It has been confirmed on Tuesday that Hartley will be testing with Ocean Racing Technology in Barcelona this week, with a view to a possible full-time GP2 race seat for 2012. Earlier this season, he competed in four races for the Tiago Monteiro-owned squad.
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