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Hartley ousted from Red Bull Junior Team
Red Bull has confirmed that Brendon Hartley is no longer part of its driver development programme.
It emerged this week that New Zealander Hartley, who was signed up alongside Daniel Ricciardo as Red Bull's test driver at the start of this season, had lost the support of the energy drinks company. As recently as the British Grand Prix he was in the Red Bull pits, and a few days earlier had been at the wheel of the team's simulator.
However, Red Bull has now confirmed that Jean Eric Vergne will replace Hartley with immediate effect in the Formula Renault 3.5 series team Tech 1.
"The move comes following Red Bull Junior Team's decision to release Brendon Hartley after four seasons with the programme," said a statement.
New Zealander Chris Amon, who contested more than 100 grands prix until 1976, said on Thursday that the news is a huge setback in Hartley's quest to race in Formula One.