Hartley's Formula 1 drive is a turning point, says Evans
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Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley, who has become New Zealand's first Formula One driver in 33 years, could be a "turning point" for other New Zealand drivers to break through.
Hartley was confirmed to drive for the Toro Rosso team at next week's US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Kiwi Formula E driver Mitch Evans said Hartley's "unique opportunity" is great for New Zealand motorsport.
"It's been a bit of a surprise to see Brendon get this opportunity quite late in his career but it's obviously fantastic for the country and for him," Evans told Tony Veitch in an interview for Newstalk ZB.
"So hopefully this is a turning point for motorsport in New Zealand and this will give young Kiwis a lot of motivation and inspiration to get into go karts, and follow in our footsteps."
Evans said he hopes Hartley's opportunity in Formula 1 will open doors for more New Zealanders to make it at the highest level.
"It's lovely to see a Kiwi make it because I honestly thought there's a high chance that you'll never see a Kiwi in F1 again.
"So hopefully this is a turning point for everyone and he's not going to be the only Kiwi in the near future to break through."
Evans, who has come close to racing in Formula One himself, lamented the "brutal" industry but hopes Hartley's opportunity is a sign that drivers are starting to be picked based on skill instead of industry politics.
"It's never straight roads to get into Formula One if you've got no backing.
"It's a brutal industry and it's very, very political and you just never know when your opportunity is going to come about and that's if an opportunity comes about," said Evans.
"You have to be in the right place at the right time and this has worked out perfectly for him, which is great for him."
- NZ Herald